With the redevelopment of the former Trico Building now back in full swing under a redesigned plan, developer Peter Krog is coming back to the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for $3.7 million in tax breaks to support the $108 million project.
Orchard Park-based Krog Group had already received a package of tax relief for a mixed-use redevelopment that included an extended-stay hotel, residential apartments and commercial office space.
The building will feature 243 apartments of various sizes, up from the 133 units originally planned, along with 250 interior parking spaces and 60,000 to 70,000 square feet of commercial space.
But the project at 791 Washington St. was suspended when Covid-19 hit in March 2020, and then lenders pulled out of the project because of fears that the hospitality industry would be devastated by the impacts of the pandemic.
So Krog revised the adaptive reuse plan for the historic windshield-wiper factory building that had been vacant for 16 years, since Trico moved out in 2005. The developer dropped the hotel and added more apartment housing to support the nearby Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
The new plan now features 243 studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments, with 25 of them – 10% – intended as workforce housing for families earning 80% or less of the area median income. The market-rate units would range in size from 560 to 1,866 square feet, with rents of $1,105 to $3,350.
Cleanup of a brownfield site at the former Trico Plant has been completed, opening the door for one of the city’s largest redevelopment projects to move forward in 2020. Plans by the Krog Group call for 135 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom market-rate apartments, 12,000-square-feet of retail and food space, 105 extended-stay hotel rooms operated by Buffalo-based Hart Hotels, and
The 498,000-square-foot building will also include 60,000 square feet of commercial space for companies seeking to work with the various entities on the medical campus. Two biomedical research and development firms have already expressed interest.
The plan was approved by the city, and is backed by preservationists. Krog already completed "a significant portion of the environmental remediation" on the century-old complex under the state Brownfield Cleanup Program, as well as much of the demolition that was necessary to open up the building and advance the project.
The site has been fenced in during those phases, and though activity was shut down in the early days of the pandemic, work restarted late last year and is expected to be completed by May 30, 2023.
However, Krog officials wrote, "the project will not move forward without financial assistance provided by the agency." The project is majority owned by Krog, with investor Bruce Wisbaum owning 35% of the venture.
Krog is asking the ECIDA to approve just over $3 million in sales tax relief and $712,500 in mortgage-recording tax breaks. It's also seeking a property tax break from the city, under the 485-a program.
Costs include $100,000 for acquisition of the two-acre site, $87.1 million for renovation and reconstruction, $14.53 million for professional fees, $725,000 for furniture and fixtures and $5.5 million in owner contingency expenses. Krog noted that the site "contains contaminants that will add to the overall redevelopment costs" of bringing the site up to clean standards.