Self-storage is all the rage on Tonawanda Street.
After obtaining needed zoning variances last year, a pair of developers are seeking city Planning Board approval on Monday for two self-storage facilities on industrial land in the Black Rock neighborhood – with more than 112 ground-level garages in the first and a mix of garages, a single apartment and two other tenant spaces or business suites in the second.
Wayne Bacon and Jack Ruh want to convert the three-story former Fedders Radiator building at 31 Tonawanda St. into an indoor, climate-controlled storage business, while constructing a series of at-grade outdoor self-storage garages on a long and narrow stretch of vacant land across the street at 150 Tonawanda St.
That's near the Scajaquada Creek and adjacent to the former New York Central Freight House at 68 Tonawanda St. that Karl Frizlen and Jason Yots are converting into the Black Rock Freight House Apartments. It's also next to the rest of the four-story former Fedders Manufacturing Works and Fedders Automotive Corp. complex, which developer Eran Epstein unveiled plans a year ago to convert into 80 apartments and additional self-storage space.
Plans by Carmina Wood Morris DPC and Janus International Corp. of Georgia call first for an environmental remediation of 0.91 acres of vacant land at 150 Tonawanda under the state Brownfield Cleanup Program. That would be followed by construction of 112 metal self-storage units in two long rows, totaling 17,750 square feet. The complex – which would not be climate-controlled – would include five different unit sizes, ranging from 5 feet by 10 feet to 10 feet by 30 feet.
That project would cost about $750,000, and is expected to take 18 months to complete.
The second project entails conversion of a 121,261-square-foot building on 1.9 acres into a mixed-use facility, dominated by additional self-storage units on all three above-ground floors and the basement. The red-brick masonry building is largely vacant and abandoned.
Besides the storage units, plans for the rest of the space – located in the former high-bay manufacturing and shipping area – are still in flux. But the single apartment – designed for a manager or caretaker – could allow the project to qualify for a lucrative 485-a property tax break from the city. The two tenant spaces totaling 20,000 to 25,000 square feet would be located along the Tonawanda Street facade, at West Street.
As part of the project, the developers also will remediate the land through the state Brownfield Cleanup Program, and will then replace the roof, repair and repaint the masonry, reopen historic openings, install new windows, put in new utilities and replace a corrugated metal cladding system on the upper stories of the building. Four existing overhead and pedestrian doors will remain and be reused, while two more will be added. The project will also include eight parking spaces.
The second phase is estimated at $4.5 million, and will also take 18 months to complete.
Ruh and his wife already operate two Secure Storage facilities in Orchard Park and the Town of Niagara, next to the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. The two new facilities will also use the Secure Storage brand.
The developers already obtained variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals for 31 Tonawanda and a rezoning from the Common Council of 150 Tonawanda. The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on both projects at 4 p.m. Feb. 24.
The Planning Board will also consider a "minor subdivision" request by Ellicott Development Co. to combine 173 and 177 Elm St., 492 Michigan Ave. and a portion of 474 Michigan for tax purposes.
Ellicott already redeveloped the historic former Keiser & Boasberg Tobacco Warehouse at 173 Elm into five apartments on the upper three floors, ranging in size from 1,027 to 1,776 square feet, with rents of $1,495 to $2,350 per month. There's also a 5,000-square-foot, first-floor office space, occupied by Service Collaborative of Western New York.
Last September, the developer bought the adjacent three-story building with 12,500 square feet of space at 177 Elm from Ferguson Electric Co. for $400,000.
Ellicott is working with Silvestri Architects on the $1.5 million plan for the building, which will likely feature a 4,800-square-foot, first-floor office space and eight apartments, said director of development Tom Fox. Those units will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including a couple of two-story, loft-style, one-bedroom apartments with private patios in the rear.
The two Michigan properties are parking lots in the rear.
Finally, Mt. Aaron Baptist Church is asking for amended approval for its Mt. Aaron Village development at 695 Genesee St., after it bought an empty residential lot at 613 Adams St. that is contiguous to the project. The lot would allow for additional green space and a wider driveway.