Developer James Swiezy is planning to connect the historic Hyatt's – All Things Creative building to his Bosche Lofts next door, creating another 19 apartments along Main Street.
Swiezy's Greenleaf Development, which acquired the Hyatt's building at 910 Main last July, expects to spend $3.5 million to $4 million on his renovation of the four-story building into a mix of residential and commercial space.
The project will add to Greenleaf's presence in the block of Main across from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, including the University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, with its large faculty and student body.
Upon completion, the 26,000-square-foot former art supplies building will retain most of the existing storefront space along Main, but will have four apartments on the western part of the first floor, toward Pearl Street. Another four apartments will occupy the basement, plus eight more on the second floor and three on the partial third floor.
The apartments will be a mix of one- and two-bedroom units of various sizes and with different architectural features. Some will have "super-high ceilings with loft spaces in them," while others will keep hardwood floors, Swiezy said. Rents will range from about $1,300 to as much as $2,500 for the penthouse apartment.
"They're all different. They're all unique," he added. "These units are definitely more high-end than average. We went above and beyond to make these units special."
Swiezy said he plans to break through the common wall between the Hyatt's building and the Bosche next door at 916 Main – in 10 to 12 places over the four floors – creating one seamless complex with nearly 50 apartments in all.
That will allow residents of both buildings to share the elevator and common amenities like the fitness center, and benefit from a parking lot in the rear of the Hyatt's property, with 30 to 35 spaces.
The Bosche also has a rooftop wood-tile deck that will be shared with residents of 910 Main through a connecting corridor between the buildings that will be constructed at roof level, creating a combined patio area and small ante-room "that gives a great view of the downtown skyline," Swiezy said. Each of the three third-floor apartments at 910 Main will also have private roof decks.
"It’s a perfect fit for us, because it meshes with the Bosche Building, which we just completed," Swiezy said.
Greenleaf bought the property at 906-910 Main from the Hyatt family for $975,000, gaining the primary store building with its two-story and three-story sections, as well as a 1,620-square-foot attached warehouse at 71 N. Pearl St. and a two-story frame house with three apartments at 75 N. Pearl.
The new project seeks to capitalize on the success that Greenleaf has experienced with the Bosche, a complicated conversion of two buildings at 916 and 918 Main – one of which Greenleaf bought from the city after it suffered a partial roof collapse. The developer spent several years consolidating and transforming the buildings into one complex, with 23 high-end loft apartments and retail space.
It opened in 2017 and is now fully occupied, and Swiezy said he isn't worried about adding more units to the mix. "We are actively engaged with the medical school and campus, and have connections at Roswell and Buffalo General. As we tell them we have 19 more units, they sent them our way," he said. "We’ve never had any trouble with demand. It’s just providing the product."
Plans for 910 Main call for minimal exterior work, as Greenleaf will keep the terra cotta facade and storefront appearance for the two-story portion of the building. "Everything is in good condition," said architect Joseph Rudniski of LaBella Associates.
On the third story, Greenleaf will rcover the facade with Hardie cementlike vertical-board siding, and will also replace windows that are in disrepair or that can't be restored, using new wooden-clad aluminum windows.
The developer also plans to demolish a one-story concrete masonry loading dock and grade-level sidewalk on the North Pearl Street side of the building that dates to 1960 or 1970. That will expose the original brick facade at the base and an existing lower-level walkout area, which Greenleaf will then extend by 14 feet to allow for the four basement apartments. The firm wants to restore some existing doors at the lower level, and replicate the historic configuration of windows and doors.
"We're going to do our best to put back what was originally there," Rudniski told the Buffalo Preservation Board last week.
Swiezy said he intended to seek state and federal historic tax credits to finance the project, and would also apply for tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for the adaptive reuse project.
Even so, he said he's ready to start demolition and asbestos remediation work in the next few weeks, with a goal of finishing the entire project by April 2021. Arc Building Partners is handling the work.
"I think the market in general, a lot of people are probably taking a step back, trying to see how this is all going to shake out," Swiezy said. "But we feel really comfortable in the Main Street area, across from the Medical Campus. We think that area still has room to grow."