It has been almost a year since Kissling Interests proposed a residential conversion project at 430 Virginia Street in Allentown. The building has been gutted but construction hasn’t started, causing some readers and neighbors to wonder if the project has been cancelled. Not so. Real estate development can be excruciatingly slow as Kissling is finalizing details to begin work this summer according to company President Anthony Kissling.
In a $2 million make-over, Kissling is planning ten live-work units for the building to be named “Allentown Lofts.” Eight units will be single-level and two will be duplexes and according to Kissling, will be “very New York City-like and by far the best lofts in town.” Units will average 2,000 sq.ft. and include approximately 1,300 sq.ft. of open and flexible live/work space. Live-work units provide work and housing space, ideal for the needs of small businesses and artists. Enclosed parking is planned.
The firm purchased the four-story building at the northeast corner of Park Street in mid-October. Constructed in 1924, the building at one time housed the National Casket Company. It most recently was owned by Yorktown Caskets Inc. based in York, Pennsylvania.
The City has approved redevelopment plans created by Buffalo firm Tommaso Briatico Architect and Peyton Barlow Co. will serve as contractor. So what’s the hold up? A map. Kissling is seeking to have the property included in the Empire Zone which currently ends just a few feet away along Delaware Avenue. Properties gaining Empire Zone certification are eligible for tax breaks, as are businesses located in them. Therefore, tenants that own and operate a business in the building may qualify for tax incentives and possibly reduced utility rates. Kissling envisions the development and Empire Zone benefits as a way to incubate new businesses for the region.
A decision on Empire Zone inclusion is expected in the next few months. If approved, work will commence within 30 days and take eight to nine months to finish. Rents are anticipated to be in the $2000 to $2100 range. There has been significant interest from potential tenants since the project was announced according to Kissling.
Kissling Interests, LLC purchased its first local building in May 1999 and has been buying historic apartment buildings primarily located on or near Delaware Avenue. The firm now has twenty residential properties with 870 units in Buffalo, owns three commercial buildings, and has a similar work/live project planned in North Tonawanda. The company has been in the real estate business since its inception, purchasing and operating property in and around Manhattan for over 130 years.
Anthony Kissling sees similarities between Buffalo today and New York City of the early 1960’s. “Real estate is a bargain and the city is on the verge of great things,” he says.
Get Connected: Kissling, 716.853.2787