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Developer modifies plans for West Side movie production studio

Developer modifies plans for West Side movie production studio

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Film and TV complex coming to Buffalo

Robert Halmi and Fehmi Zeko, right, of Great Point Capital Management, announced plans last year to build a film and television complex on Niagara Street in Buffalo.

The backers and architects behind a planned television and movie production studio on the West Side want to shift the proposed building's front entrance around the corner, from Niagara Street to West Ferry Street, to protect people from harsh weather coming off of Lake Erie and the Niagara River. That would be among a series of modifications to their previously approved design.

Great Point Opportunity Fund – the financial arm of London-based Great Point Media – is asking the Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals to allow the main entry to be moved to the side of the building at 1155 Niagara St., instead of being in the front as required under the Green Code.

Niagara Studio north elevation

An architect's rendering of the north side of the proposed Niagara Studio, showing where the front door would now be located, in the bottom right corner.

The actual move would be a matter of less than 10 feet, since both the current and proposed locations of the doorway would still be at the corner of Niagara and West Ferry, just along the north facade instead of the west side of the building.

Niagara Studio west elevation

An architect's rendering of the west side of the proposed Niagara Studio, showing where the front door used to be in the bottom left corner.

The group and architect Kevin Murrett of Architectural Resources say the change is necessary "to shield occupants from wind, blowing rain and snow off the lake" from the west. They also say it would be better for emergencies, if people need to get out in a hurry or paramedics need to bring in stretchers.

Great Point has proposed to construct its 57,700-square-foot Niagara Studio on the southeast corner of the intersection, on a site recently occupied by a high-bay refrigerated warehouse that was torn down in 2019. At the core of the new studio would be a 20,000-square-foot "black box" soundstage with sophisticated sound, lighting and environmental controls, surrounded by dressing and makeup rooms. There also would be rooms for costume design, set design, lighting and cameras as well as other creative and administrative support space.

Film and TV complex coming to Buffalo

A rendering shows where the complex will be located on Niagara Street, across from Rich Products.

The project already received approval last year from the ZBA and the Planning Board, so this would be a modification that the ZBA would consider when it meets Feb. 17. The changes also might have to go back to the Planning Board.

Designers are also proposing a number of other modifications, including a steel tube canopy over the entrance instead of a corrugated metal roof, taller and higher windows, new and changed doors, adjustments to both the base and roof levels, changes to floor heights, and increased glass.

Read the full story from News Staff Reporter Jonathan Epstein.

Also pending before the ZBA:

• Matthew Irish Jones of Irish Jones Realty wants to convert a duplex at 73 Ludington St. into three units, with two tenants on the lower level, by breaking up that apartment into two separate units. The exterior will not change, but the increased density requires a variance.

Eastman Machine rendering

A rendering of the proposed addition at Eastman Machine Co. in Buffalo.

• Eastman Machine Co. plans to construct a 7,392-square-foot warehouse addition to its existing facility on 3.55 acres at 775-779 Washington St., with a partial second floor, a loading dock and a new entrance. It needs four variances for the project by Dean Architects and Lamparelli Construction.

• RCR Yachts needs three variances to erect a 4,300-square-foot storage building at its marina on the Outer Harbor, at 11 City Ship Canal.

The Buffalo News: Good Morning, Buffalo

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