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Renovation Planned for 501 Main Street

A piece of Main Street’s 500 block is moving closer to reuse. Restaurateur Don Warfe has the circa-1880 Stewart & Benson Building at 501 Main Street under contract. Warfe expects to renovate the three-story, 6,000 sq.ft. vacant property into a mix of residential and commercial space.

According to Business First, Warfe plans to convert the upper floors into two residential units and utilize the ground floor as enclosed parking (alley access off E. Mohawk Street) and 1,000 sq.ft. of for-lease commercial space. Warfe, who plans to occupy one of the residential units, runs the Brodo locations on Elmwood Avenue and Main Street in Snyder and is also the restaurant and events manager for the The Clubhouse at the Buffalo Yacht Club.
501 Main Street was one of several properties that would have been renovated under Signature Development’s Century City Lofts project. That redevelopment project unraveled due to a depressed market for historic preservation tax credits. The building was put back on the market in January with a $185,000 asking price. It is unknown what Warfe has agreed to pay for the property which is expected to be finalized in September. Current owner Naseem M. Malik purchased the property in ten years ago for $150,679.
Malik sold 496 Main at the northwest corner of W. Mohawk Street in July 2007. The four-story, 11,440 sq.ft. building was purchased by Kent Keating and has City approvals to renovate it for commercial space topped by one unit of housing. That project has not started.
Two other Malik-owned downtown properties at 472 Main/283 Pearl remain for sale. These contiguous, through-block buildings are four floors totaling 40,000 sq.ft. of space. The site is located between the Courtyard Mall and former Hens & Kelly’s Department Store. Malik’s properties are being sold through Chris Malachowski of Hunt Commercial Real Estate.
Get connected: Chris Malachowski, Hunt Commercial: 716-880-1914

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  • 962

    Good stuff! I always think of the out-of-towners who stay at The Hyatt – and that block of Main Street is what they see. Yikes.

  • great news, depressing picture.

  • 987

    Good news. This block of Main Street needs some serious lovin because its pretty aweful and as the commentor above said “depressing”. I wish something would happen next door with that one story Fashion place and vacant lot/ cut thru next to it as well. It really creates a dead spot and kills the Main Street “street wall”

  • This is nice but not really the impact that is needed at this major downtown site. This is in the heart of the CBD and a much more ambitious project than 2 apartments need to happen here. These buildings need to go and in their place a multi story mixed use with Mohawk opening to traffic. This might now prevent a real project from taking shop at this site.

  • How can you live with yourself as a politician in this city with Main St in the condition that it is in???
    It must be your first priority to rehab a street of this magnitude and visibility.
    There has been absolutely no progress, no resolution, no development on Main St in 30 fuc-ing years. It is a true embarrassment.
    Why don’t we all talk some more about how bringing traffic back to main will revitalize the area; spend more money on canon designs and virtualization, put on your sabres jersey and slap high fives…when traffic return we are all set! Right?

  • Gaustad,
    There hasn’t been ANY progress on Main Street in 30 years? What about the Berger’s Building being turned into lofts (The Bellasario) a few years back. That is on the same block, just the opposite side of the street.
    I agree that the 500 block of Main Street is embarassing, but there has been some progress, albeit a small amount along this section.

  • maybe i missed the story some where but does this mean that the 500 block concept is dead?

  • 347

    City Center Condo’s, 1992, CityView Developments @ Main and Chippewa 2005, That building down by Lafayette Square was also in the Mid 90’s, Lots of other smaller renovations on the 700 block.
    Main street is a big long street and not everything can happen at once. There have been development (some better than others) done to it every decade for 30+ years now. This just happens to be one of the last blocks that hasn’t seen development. Patience, it will happen.

  • 431

    Key Centre Towers:1990

  • Let’s not forget the progress at 487 Main St. where Carmina Wood Morris, PC renovated and revitalized and then occupied the building!
    Progess seems to be a little slow, but the red tape is always getting in the way.

  • its a lost cause. main street is dead…just ask the kids who got in the fight on the subway a couple weeks ago. thugs rule Main street now.

  • 793

    Is Brown going to add this project to his $5 billion in development Buffalo has seen under his watch? 🙂
    Talk is cheap. Rehabing a building is not. Let’s celebrate after it is completed.

  • 770

    To me, this is in some ways a more positive development than if Termini’s project had proceeded. While Termini would have done the whole block, I think large projects tend to be a little sterile. I am enthusiastic that this block will be done piecemeal by many small developers exactly such as this. If a dozen buildings on the block are rehabbed by individual owners, the end product will be more interesting than a single larger project. Imagine the block looking more like a well preserved European downtown where each building is in great shape. I see that happening over the next decade on this block.

  • Well, glad to get some feedback on the project. To those of you that left negative comments, you definitely have the right to do so. I know that the revitalization of downtown Buffalo is going to take time, money, and mostly effort on people like myself who are excited about the current development occuring in the city. Instead of having the defeatus attitude that the city is in a dead or dying state, try thinking positive. Buffalo is not the only city that has gone through economic hardship, and there are other cities much worse off than Buffalo. I have lived in the metro area of Buffalo for the past 33 years and I have been waiting for Buffalo to come back to its urban roots. This is the first time in these 33 years that I truly believe Buffalo is headed in the right direction. Try helping instead of defaming this old beauty. And thanks to those with encouragement, it means alot to know that support is in the hearts of most.

  • I think this is a great development and I don’t think there’s a better person to take it on. All the best…