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Living in the Hydraulics: The Larkin Lofts

With work underway at 701 Seneca (Larkin Center of Commerce) by Seneca Holdings LLC, the development group is firming up plans for their next project in the Hydraulics, The Larkin Lofts. The lofts will be located in the former Larkin Boiler House, adjacent to the 701 Seneca complex.

 

Dating back to 1902, the Larkin Lofts building will house fifty-four residences ranging from 600 to 1,300 square feet.  Some of the units will have two levels. There will be enclosed parking for 54 vehicles, plus storage for individual tenants, and a 37-car parking lot to the west of the building.

 

In order to keep in line with the urban feel of the area, there will be streetscape improvements made around the complex.  Artist’s renderings of the building and units are on display on the building at the corner of Larkin and Seneca streets.

 

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Seneca Holdings LLC will be using historic tax credits for the project as they are doing for the Larkin Center of Commerce.  Jim Cornell of Praxiis Business Advisors/Seneca Holdings LLC says, “We plan to have the lofts complete by December 31, 2012.”  

 

Adds Cornell, “The project cost is expected to be $7.2 Million and the architect will be selected after a brief design competition early this spring.”

 

 

Site Plan for Larkin Lofts

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One Bedroom Rendering

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Loft Style Rendering

Two bedroom.png                                                               

Written by Mike Puma

Mike Puma

Writing for Buffalo Rising since 2009 covering development news, historic preservation, and Buffalo history. Works professionally in historic preservation.

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  • Travelrrr

    Way too cool. What is the chance that these will be condos?

  • JSmith

    Probably not condos given the use of historic tax credits (I believe there are tax complications regarding the credits and condos that mean they must be rentals for a certain number of years).
    Amazing how well these buildings clean up with a bit of power-washing.
    But I’m gonna say it… 54 residences for humans and 91 residences for cars? Is that really necessary or desirable for an area promoting its “urban feel”?

  • Urban Cowboy

    Until there is better method of public transportation to this area they must supply ample parking……
    But after saying that I agree with you……

  • Sevenonesix

    Unfortunate, but true.. Excited to see the progress of this. What an awesome building.

  • whatever

    Something up near a 2:1 ratio of parking spots to units sounds smart. Even if public transporation was better, most people here who can afford to still own a car. Trips to Wegmans for a week of groceries are possible by bus, but not convenient. Many units might be rented by couples who each own a car. And people have guests over sometimes who need spots to park.

  • rubagreta

    This is not Manhattan. Every tenant who is single will own a car. Nine out of ten couples will own two cars. For now, the parking ratio makes sense and is totally appropriate.
    I just know that no matter how good the news is (and this is great news that was inconceivable not too long ago) it will be met with complaints.

  • Slobadan Melosivic

    until they start filing in all of the empty lots and space with stores and shops than it will be just another place in buffalo where you can drive your car to and leave…

  • grad94

    so why not entice buffalo car share to park a vehicle here?

  • The Kettle

    The good news keeps coming for the Larkin District.
    I don’t see a problem with the extra parking spaces. According to the rendering, they were able to incorporate plenty of parking without having to compromise the walkability of the streetscape.
    Besides, the upscale suburban apt complexes that places like this typically compete with have even more parking but fewer options for pedestrians or bikes. That gives places like the Larkin Lofts an advantage as long as they can accommodate multiple forms of transit.

  • JSmith

    That’s true – right now, there’s really nothing in the neighborhood to walk to (unless you work in one of the various Larkin renovations). But it’s a chicken-and-egg argument – local retail won’t be developed if everyone is perfectly happy driving to Wegmans or wherever.
    So these notions of creating a walkable, bustling neighborhood fall a bit flat for me when every new development chooses to make using an automobile the most convenient option.

  • bobbycat

    What government subsidies are they receiving to make these lofts? Historic tax credits? Recovery Zone tax credits? Funding from the state or federal governments?
    We have enough empty houses in the city to fit anyone who would rent one of these lofts, so why are we subsidizing them? Isn’t that contributing to the vacancy rate?

  • bobbycat

    I hate to ask but what is the status of the Cooperage River Lofts project? It has been more than 2 years since it was started and there isn’t much visible progress on the outside of the building. Is this still going to happen?

  • The Boss

    I have no problem with all the parking as long as nothing is being sacraficed. Lots of open space down there. As much as we all hate parking spaces the auto rules that is the way it is. No one, anywhere, loves taking public transit, they have to use it.

  • Urban Cowboy

    Lets face it…. Until the mayor and county executive are on the same page the greater Buffalo region will remain a drive first city for everyone.
    Taking 30 minutes to just drive between any two municipalities is un-real, slows development/progress, and supports sprawl. There is no easy way to get anywhere in Buffalo unless you live less then five minutes from your destination or a highway.

  • The Kettle

    The article mentions historic preservation credits as an ingredient for this project. Don’t you think reusing buildings that would otherwise be obsolete is a program worth investing in?
    All new construction leads to vacancy but at least in this case people are going to a soon to be former vacant building instead of some subdivision in farm country. I have said all along that if you take away sprawl subsidies, you wouldn’t have as much of a need for govt programs, like the historic rehab credits, that make derelict properties viable.
    What does the cooperage have to do with an article about the Larkin District?

  • u_u

    A rehab of an existing building, in an up and coming area, with off street parking (enclosed and behind the building), and they put retail along Seneca and on Larkin! This is a great project.

  • Urban Cowboy

    This is upstate new york

  • Urban Cowboy

    I have a question for everyone on here…
    What is 50 Court and what is it’s status?

  • bobbycat

    I am glad you are here to tell everyone where tax money should or should not be directed based on your values and opinions. You feel that monies shouldn’t be directed to shared resources like roads and utilities but should be directed to a for-profit private business just because it is located in the city limits.
    It makes perfect sense to me.

  • bobbycat

    I was curious about the status of the River Lofts project because we haven’t heard much about it since it was hyped up a few years ago. It is only a mile or so away from this project in the same general area of the city.
    Is the “Larking District” that different from whatever district we are calling the other side of the thruway?
    Is the Cooperage / River Lofts project still active? That is all I was wondering, Mr. Defensive.

  • STEEL

    NFTA has to pony up and extend MEtro Rail down here. It would not cost that much and would make tremendous sense.

  • The Kettle

    bobbycat> “we haven’t heard much about it since it was hyped up a few years ago”
    Just getting your jabs then. I kinda figured that but I wanted to check.
    Bobbycat> “I am glad you are here to tell everyone where tax money should or should not be directed based on your values and opinions.”
    I also figured you were tying to pick a fight with this one. Since tax dollars are already being spent manipulating the housing market, I “value” public policies to give people additional incentives to live in the city and older neighborhoods. Unlike sprawl subsidies, this reduces the need for additional infrastructure, government financed demolitions etc.
    But you knew that already. So why pick the fight over my views and the cooperage?

  • 300miles

    LOL did anyone else notice the car accident in the parking lot of the site plan?? My respect for them just tripled. 🙂

  • sbrof

    This is a real exciting moment for the Larkin District, residential development is an important hurdle to long term sustainability. Great to such a great old building being reused for this project.

  • Eastwood

    Lets see 54 units for 7.2 mil…..thats $133,000 for each unit.
    Property tax on 7.2 million$ assesment is about 244,000$ or $4500 per year per unit. Water, garbage, insurance, management fees, long term maintenence.
    what will these places rent for so the building doesn’t go belly up?
    or will the tax payer pick up the tab? for $7.2 million tax payer money we could fix alot of vacant space on Elmwood, Hertel and downtown.

  • Urban Cowboy

    lol…. Sour grapes?

  • Pegger

    Let’s be real about this. This certainly isn’t my idea of an “urban feel.” It is an industrial feel and one of decline at that. It is so far away from anything livable without a car. I imagine those who work nearby might be interested in renting an apartment in so much proximity. But, IMHO, proposing this location in this relatively isolated place as a part of an urban lifestyle is quite a stretch. Can anyone make a prediction as to how many decades it will take to fill in the vast area surrounding this site with businesses that will support the necessitites people could readily access on foot? Am I alone in posturing this attack on romanticizing this development? Don’t get me wrong, I am for it. But I cannot call it part of a vibrant urban lifestyle.

  • MrGreenJeans

    The status of “The Cooperage” is that it’s 100% fiction. I won’t call it “fraud” , but you can think about the $500 “non-refundable” deposits their website solicits & decide for yourself.
    Even the name is fiction: E&B Holmes made machinery, some of which was used to make barrels. A “cooperage” is where barrels are made, and this was not such a place.
    The building continues its slow collapse into oblivion. It’s nothing but a pile of bricks with an interior of industrial-waste-soaked wood.

  • bobbycat

    @Armchair> I wasn’t picking a fight or “getting in my jabs” when asking about the Cooperage. It was a legitimate question. The project was heavily hyped a few years ago and I haven’t heard anything about it since.
    I also wanted to validate your hypocritical position on the use of tax credits and you’ve done that for me. You were trying to dodge that in your posts with skybox the other day, so thank you for clarifying your position. We should spend to subsidize private companies who want to build for profit in the city, but not spend on suburban growth that benefits many who live there because you believe that housing starts in the suburbs are bad for the city. We should spend millions to line the pockets of people like Carl Palidino and Rocco Termini so they can build rental lofts for single 20 – 35 year old people like you. We shouldn’t spend anything to improve roads in the suburbs because if they get as bad as they are in the city then maybe people will be enticed to move back. After all there are thousands of people in the suburbs who really want to live in the city but they just haven’t made that move yet, according to your conversation with Whatever. So if we just spend more money on rentals in the city and not keep up the suburban infrastructure (like we did in the city), then maybe people will sell their homes and move into one of these lofts. If we have enough lofts then maybe we’ll build grocery stores and flower shops and then some of those lily white rich suburbanites will buy houses in the area and things will be all better for the city.
    I think this sums up your logic for development. Please don’t feel persecuted by these comments, it is just a clarification of what you have been saying here for awhile.

  • bobbycat

    Tax payer will foot the bill, it is ok though because it this is a good project for the city that will bring in lots of renters.

  • bobbycat

    Sure, what’s a couple hundred million between friends.

  • LI2Northpark

    If you’re going to get people back downtown it has to start somewhere. Great idea to try and get Buff. Car Share to park one there.

  • chetroia

    I always wonder is there really demand for this buildings ? I live in N Buffalo and I can look out the window and see 2 vacant doubles right across the street from me that are vacant. Are people just moving out of some these houses to move into these new built propertys or we have a big rise in population growth where there isnt enough houses,condos,lofts etc.. for people to move in? Are people just moving from one area to the city to the other and there is not a true population growth?

  • The Kettle

    Bobbycat> “You were trying to dodge that in your posts with skybox the other day, so thank you for clarifying your position.”
    Bobbycat, you have been commenting here for as long as I can remember but you are just now figuring out that I favor money being spent on reinvesting in older communities and compact development over low-density sprawl? Unlike most of the pro sprawl crowd, I don’t hide or cover up my personal opinions and biases.
    As I have been saying for years, I prefer my tax dollars going towards recycling historic properties instead of being spent perpetuating sprawl. How is that “hypocritical?”
    The only thing I was attempting to “dodge” from skybox was the lame attempt by him and many others to paint this preference as a city vs suburb issue. It isn’t about municipal boundaries as it is smart and efficient land management, environmental responsibility, public health, and fiscally responsible government.
    Bobbycat> “We should spend to subsidize private companies who want to build for profit in the city, but not spend on suburban growth that benefits many who live there…”
    Spare us the pretend populism. You don’t think there are private companies and individuals who profit from the far more expensive sprawl subsidies?
    Bobbycat> “After all there are thousands of people in the suburbs who really want to live in the city but they just haven’t made that move yet, according to your conversation with Whatever.”
    You guys love your straw man arguments. What I said was many of the new downtown developments typically draw people who used to live in the suburbs. This is based on comparable rents, rising real estate prices, and observations by myself and others here whereas the theory of downtown shifting residents from elsewhere in the city is largely baseless.

  • KangDangaLang

    ………….ps that makes you a hypocrite.

  • The Kettle

    Explain.

  • The Kettle

    Eastwood> “or will the tax payer pick up the tab? for $7.2 million tax payer money we could fix alot of vacant space on Elmwood, Hertel and downtown.”
    7.2 mil is the total cost not the subsidy. From what I understand, the developer should qualify for a 10-20 % tax credit which works out to about 720k or 1.4 mil depending on how “historic” the rehabilitation is. Assuming they qualify for the 20%, that is about a mil and a half to bring an underused property back to life, maintain momentum in an emerging part of town, and add to the local tax base. I’m sure this place would cost far more than 1.4 mil to demolish.
    That sounds like a worthwhile investment to me but, as bobbycat pointed out, it’s only worthwhile if you value things like economic growth.
    I can’t think of much vacancy along Hertel or Elmwood but similar subsidies are used to address vacancy downtown.

  • brownteeth

    At the rate this area is improving I would imagine that infill on those empty lots is probably already being planned and will be built in the next five years. I am happy to see they’re going after the old buildings first as those can be the most difficult and costly to take on. Now that they have proved that there is a demand, taking on new builds should be easy and relatively cheaper moving forward. Any which way you slice it this is a great project. This is how a neighborhood gets built and revives itself.

  • LouisTully

    The smokestack reminds me of these lofts in Louisville:
    Lofts on Broadway:
    http://www.loftsofbroadway.com/images/front_elev_cmyk.gif

  • The Kettle

    chetoria> “Are people just moving from one area to the city to the other and there is not a true population growth?”
    Based on the rents that the newer downtown developments charge (900-1500) it is unlikely that they are drawing renters from other city neighborhoods.

  • The Kettle

    Cool.

  • pampiniform

    How did you come to that conclusion?

  • The Kettle

    Rents in other city neighborhoods are typically less than the going rate downtown. A typical 3bdm flat in N Buffalo for example rents from between 600-750. One would have to score a huge promotion to move to a place that charges double the rent.
    That backs up what I have observed living in a few of these places in the past.

  • Sally

    great project!

  • JM

    Is the Cooperage / River Lofts project still active?
    I just did the hike on the Waterfront/Grain Mills and we stopped by the Cooperage. Clinton Brown said he’s close to securing the rest of the financing, I think he said $600k to go. He said he has a few possible investors, and if it works out it could be complete within a year.

  • brownteeth

    Another factor is that you cannot really compare these apartments / lofts to an upper unit in a house in North Buffalo. They are two completely different animals that typically do not draw the same demographic so it’s too difficult to say. This is a whole new product attracting a whole new consumer.

  • The Kettle

    ……………..I’m waiting.

  • whatever

    Arm, not to interfere, but you criticizing others for straw man arguments just might be viewed as hypocritical to some readers of some of your past comments on here which used that approach. Just a guess!
    (non-angry, non-provoked guess, I should add so nobody has to sleep with the lights on, lol!)
    By the way, as long as I’m here, about this part…
    Armchair>”Based on the rents that the newer downtown developments charge (900-1500) it is unlikely that they are drawing renters from other city neighborhoods.”
    That depends on one’s defintion of ‘unlikely’, considering there’s quite a few units in different parts of the city with rents in or near the $900-1500 range.
    On Chris Lee’s favorite site, some of these 240+ current for-rent listings having the word ‘Buffalo’ and that price range are in burbs or downtown, but also notice that number includes quite a few for city neighborhoods such as Elmwood, Allentown, N Buffalo (as were the two vacant doubles mentioned above by chetoria), S Buffalo, Delaware District, Linwood, …
    http://buffalo.craigslist.org/search/apa?query=buffalo&srchType=A&minAsk=900&maxAsk=1500

  • sbrof

    On a per sqft basis and without some crazy circumstances, new builds are never cheaper than renovating existing building.

  • The Kettle

    Whatever> “but you criticizing others for straw man arguments just might be viewed as hypocritical to some readers of some of your past comments on here which used that approach.”
    Haha okay in that sense I guess we are all hypocrites. I was trying to get an explanation on my point of view on rehab vs sprawl being “hypocritical” from Burch and Cat. Judging by the silence, I guess they are having some trouble backing up their claim.
    Whatever>” but also notice that number includes quite a few for city neighborhoods such as Elmwood, Allentown, N Buffalo.”
    Thats a good point. I don’t doubt that some people rent downtown who may have otherwise rented elsewhere in the city. Generally speaking however, rental rates in these neighborhoods are much less than that being charged downtown.
    Moreover, sale and rent prices in these neighborhoods has been on a steady climb since the first units went up downtown 10 years ago. If people were leaving these neighborhoods for downtown, property values would be declining or at least stagnant.
    Which brings me to “chetoria’s doubles.” I don’t know what is going on on whichever street that is being referred to but I can say that two doubles being vacant is far from typical of this neighborhood. Even homes ravaged by fire have no trouble attracting buyers and tenants. I wonder if the doubles in question are the pair on Wellington near Hertel or the two brick ones on Tacoma near N Park? Both of which are vacant but are also undergoing substantial renovations.

  • South Buffalo Drifter

    Check your history. It’s in the historical records.

  • KangDangaLang

    No its called actually having a life and not sitting on BRO. PS its hypocritical when you say its outrageous when the suburbs get subsidies, but its totally okay when the city gets them. That by definition is being a hypocrite.
    Hypocrite:a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives.

  • JSmith

    How does that make Armchair MBA a hypocrite? I don’t think he’s ever denied that he believes that government should encourage redevelopment of our cities rather than encourage sprawl.

  • bobbycat

    @BurchJP> I was about to say the same thing. There is life beyond BRO for most of us and there was a lot to do yesterday and this morning. I am heading out again too. I wonder why such a Buffalo Booster like Armchair isn’t out enjoying the hockey tournament, powderkeg festival, free movie at Sheas, or one of the many other events going on today. I hate to think that his late 20 something single guy is home alone waiting for me to respond to his retort from yesterday. How pathetic can you get!

  • bobbycat

    @JSmith> In the latest article about the Bosche Building, ArmchairMBA squawked about the negative impact that public “subsidies”. A direct quote from the article: “Off the top of my head: the home mortgage interest deduction, FHA, utility and drainage construction, and numerous highway bills.”
    He goes on to say, “Homeownership, made artificially cheap by a laundry list of subsidies, has clearly driven demand for lower density, sprawl development. Take away these programs and you will likely see a much more compact development pattern.”
    I think it really comes down to this quote:
    “If you and who you claim to be “a lot of taxpayers” want this living environment, you should pay for it without public assistance.”
    He wants subsidies to private contractors in the city who are redeveloping lofts for profit because he feels it is a good thing for “everyone”. Meanwhile, he condemns tax dollars being spent on public projects like roads and sewers, because he feels they are not “shared by everyone”.
    He also condemns programs that benefit individual homeowners because he claims they primarily benefit the wealthy (even though they don’t) but strongly endorses programs that offer strong financial benefit to millionaire developers.
    These are just a few examples of where he is hypocritical.
    I wouldn’t have a problem if he just came out to say that he does not think taxes should be spent on anything outside the city until the city becomes stronger and the majority of suburbanites live in an urban development. I’d respect that if he wasn’t trying to play a game and avoid stating his true intentions. He should just come out and say, “Read my lips, no new houses, ever!”

  • The Kettle

    You guys are too funny. As much as you two post here, neither of you are in any position to call anybody “pathetic” for commenting too often.
    I like how when Burch wants a question answered, he types “…I’m waiting” but when I imitate him, it’s because I have no life. Seems like a pretty hypocritical double standard to me.

  • bobbycat

    Why don’t you just admit that you are a hypocrite?

  • The Kettle

    That’s nice. Five paragraphs of your blathering about me not seeing things your way.
    Yes you have gone on about my preferences for development subsidies and how they piss you off but no good explanation of how they are hypocritical. This may be news to you cat but people are not hypocrites simply by disagreeing with you. But the best part is how you try to tie it all together in the last paragraph.
    Bobycat> ” I wouldn’t have a problem if he just came out to say that he does not think taxes should be spent on anything outside the city until the city becomes stronger and the majority of suburbanites live in an urban development. I’d respect that if he wasn’t trying to play a game and avoid stating his true intentions.”
    For someone who seems to memorize everything I write here, you have overlooked (deliberately?) things I have said that blow up your pathetic attempts to paint my views simply as city vs suburb.
    http://rising.wpengine.com/2009/12/city-looks-to-fund-colvin-estates-roadwork.html
    Observe my repeated dissenting remarks over the soon to be built Colvin Estates project in this thread. Now if my “true intentions” were some sort of city conquest over the burbs as you claim, wouldn’t I be in favor of a development that will likely lead to more people moving into the city?
    I have also gone on record here supporting common sense development in the burbs such as IDA funds to redevelop greyfieds in Amherst, a loft development in NT, streetscape improvements in Hamburg, and rigid subdivision requirements in Clarence. If I was only interested in the greater glory of the city wouldn’t I be opposed to these things?

  • The Kettle

    Burch> “Hypocrite:a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives.”
    What “beliefs and opinions” am I professing that I don’t believe?
    What exactly are my “real feelings and motives?”
    Bobbycat just whiffed on these questions but maybe you can do better.
    ……………I’m still waiting.

  • bobbycat

    They don’t piss me off at all. I don’t believe in suburban sprawl any more than you do, but I do believe that the taxpayers who live in the suburbs should have equal access to government monies that they pay into. That is the difference in our perspectives. You believe that it is a good thing to use public money to fund private developers as long as they are developing to your style and historical standards. You don’t find it acceptable to spend money on development outside the city, private or public. You’d rather stuff Carl Paladino’s pockets with more government cash than pay for upkeep on a road that thousands of people drive on every day.
    I think it may have been you who characterized Colvin Estates as “sprawl within the city”, or something to that effect. Maybe that wasn’t you, who the hell cares? I really enjoyed the misleading vividness in your Colvin Estates example. You tried to disprove or ignore all of your other statements because you said something negative about the Colvin Estates project. Priceless, you really area a piece of work.
    That aside, you’ve made your point well known that you don’t like government “subsidies” or government sponsored programs except when they benefit the projects that you deem worthy and acceptable. Maybe hypocrite isn’t the right word, maybe I should have said you are using a fallacy of special pleading for your arbitrary use of funds. Maybe it doesn’t really matter, because you can’t see that your statements are contradictory in nature. It is like the NIMBY who wants city development but just not in their neighborhood.
    For the record, I do agree that I passed over many past comments to provide references for JSMITH. I did enjoy your emotional response and link to try to prove that you are just as anti-city as you are anti-suburb. That was another classic on your part.
    Anyway, because this is just one truly inane and insignificant debate, I’ll concede that you support smart growth in the city AND the suburbs. There are times when you do say nice things about the suburbs. Feel better?

  • bobbycat

    I didn’t call you pathetic for posting to the blog a few times a day. I called you pathetic for sitting around waiting for another poster to respond to your post calling them out. Some of us do other things beyond posting semi-anonymously on Buffalo Rising. The fact that you waited all day for me to respond, on a day when there were many things happening in the city, was pretty pathetic.

  • bobbycat

    For the record, I am definitely not against using tax money for private or public programs that benefit our local area and the citizens who live there. I just don’t agree that we can pick and choose which programs get funded and which do not based on arbitrary criteria and personal agendas. This is why I challenged your statements about it. Instead of you understanding that I was challenging your premise, you thought I was challenging you directly and that is where the debate goes downhill. You take things far too personally, and that is why it is fun to challenge your arguments. You are just so self-righteous about certain things, and so quick to jump into the personal challenge. It is so easy to press those little buttons of yours, I really do enjoy watching you over-react the way you do.

  • KangDangaLang

    Its because my comment was during a time I was at work, and not one of the busiest weekends of the year in Buffalo.

  • The Kettle

    Bobbycat> “You’d rather stuff Carl Paladino’s pockets with more government cash than pay for upkeep on a road that thousands of people drive on every day.”
    Yawn… Again, stop pretending individuals and companies don’t “line their pockets” with money from sprawl subsidies. You don’t think roads are built for not-for-profits do you.
    I like how you use colorful language to make your point of view the illusion of virtue. That’s like saying “you’d rather have a stupid rehabilitated building than a super cool road.”
    Bobbycat> “That aside, you’ve made your point well known that you don’t like government “subsidies” or government sponsored programs except when they benefit the projects that you deem worthy and acceptable.”
    Again… Yes I prefer subsidies being spent on projects that I feel are good investments. I have never hid from this. Do you think you have stumbled on something or caught me in double talk? You have your own views that I don’t agree with but you don’t see me calling you a hypocrite simply because I disagree with you.
    Bobbycat>” I just don’t agree that we can pick and choose which programs get funded and which do not based on arbitrary criteria and personal agendas.”
    Everybody’s views are based on their “personal agendas” but I certainly have not based additional arguments for smart growth on “arbitrary” criteria. In addition to my own personal preferences, I have argued for this model based on its many environmental, economic, social justice, and yes, aesthetic benefits. Don’t you think we should “pick and chose” a better system over an inferior one?
    Bobbycat> “You take things far too personally”
    This from they guy who has to resort to name calling and word twisting.

  • whatever

    Arm>”I don’t doubt that some people rent downtown who may have otherwise rented elsewhere in the city.”
    Well, that publicly-funded musical chairs then has at least some negative impacts in traditional residential neighborhoods, and is a real unfairness for landlords across most of Buffalo.
    They don’t receive the kinds of special subsidies received by the handful of landlords who are creating downtown residential which as you note lures away some of their tenants and potential tenants in a city where the number of residents is in a long term down trend.
    Btw, I think this was very well put by bobbycat:
    “You’d rather stuff Carl Paladino’s pockets [whatever’s additions: and Termini’s, Savarino’s, Uniland’s, etc.] with more government cash than pay for upkeep on a road that thousands of people drive on every day.”
    The roads are publicly owned and the 1000’s of people who drive on them are proportionaltely the sources of tax $ to pay for them (or for the Thruway, toll $). Paladino’s upscale units (and the like) for the wealthy are not publicly owned and aren’t paying their fair share at the same rates as normal taxpayer properties. That’s nothing similar to non-urban roads being funded by non-urban portions of tax $.

  • The Kettle

    Whatever> “They don’t receive the kinds of special subsidies received by the handful of landlords…”
    These tax credits are available to all who apply for them not just the downtown developing robber barons and the dandys that live in them. In “traditional” N Buffalo and the West Side, people are using using them to renovate a church and the old Horsefeathers into apartments.
    The “unfairness” of landlords not using incentives to restore properties needs to be balanced with the good that comes from these projects such as new tax revenue, historic preservation, environmental protection, and new residents who otherwise would have lived in the burbs.
    Whatever> “Btw, I think this was very well put by bobbycat:”
    Yeah he took the “stupid loft” or a “super cool road” thing right out of your play book. You guys are kidding yourself if you think people like Benderson, Ryan Homes, and various road contractors are not “lining their pockets” from sprawl subsidies. Just to be clear, his use of the word “upkeep” is misleading. I have a problem with rural road widening and constructing needless highways, not filling potholes and fixing sidewalks on less frivolous roads.
    In spite of your repeated claims to the contrary, these roads are subsidized by taxes and fees that have nothing to do with auto transportation. If you value perpetuating sprawl this isn’t a problem much the same way I prefer smart growth and do not have a problem with subsidizing it.
    Just don’t invent a bogus populist line with developer bashing to paint your development preference as more virtuous than the other.

  • brownteeth

    That is not necessarily true. There are many variables but in general, when renovating large old buildings like these, there is almost always unforeseen issues that drive the cost up in the end. Perhaps in this case your statement is true because I hope they have some design guidelines in place for new builds to maintain the historic character of the district.

  • chetroia

    What kind of consumer are these attracting? I always perceived lofts being used by artists and lofts were created because of limited space in citys like NY thus the reason for using vacant buildings. But dont we have enough of these vacant building in other parts of the city to use like Main st? At least off Main st there is more attraction like a subway college and few stores on main st.

  • bhorvath

    The question of whether certain Buffalo business people prey upon the positive sentiment created by feigning true interest in preservation is a valid one that should be addressed….Bashar Issa made money doing it (even if he is being prosecuted), and I bet alot of people have learned how to make a ‘float’ over this type of thing. You think Croce plans on losing money in his bid to “preserve” the Statler?
    However, as this blog itself gets paid by a similar preying upon sentiment I doubt the question gets any traction at all.

  • brownteeth

    That may have been the initial cause for loft conversions years ago but they hev evolved quite a bit from just a large open concrete section of a warehouse. I think the majority of people living in lofts are people who appreciate the architecture and uniqueness of the space. The condos at the Avant are just glamorized high end versions of a loft in my opinion and people are paying between $500k and $1.5 mill for those. Given the amount of people who work in the Larkin Building I think there are plenty of people who would want to rent a space like this and be right next door to work and blocks away from downtown and the waterfront.

  • whatever

    Arm>”These tax credits are available to all who apply for them”
    What? Maybe all who apply within very narrow criteria (compared to all property owners here).
    Are you claiming the average Buffalo landlord who owns rental properties such as the vacant ones in N Bflo mentioned by chetoria (or the many current for-rent city listings I linked to) are eligible for the same special deals received for new units owned by the Paladinos and Terminis?
    As John McEnroe would say, you can’t be serious.

  • The Kettle

    Historic tax credits are tied to the building not the developer. So yes if the alleged vacancies in N Buff meet the “very narrow criteria” for the national register (http://www.achp.gov/nrcriteria.html) they will get the same treatment as the evil downtown developers.
    I can’t help but think of the comments you made yesterday equating urban friendly policies to the political left. I suspect this, and not small government principals, is your motivation for repeatedly ragging on this relatively small subsidy. That would also explain why you downplay, deny the existence of, or promote larger subsidy programs with suburban development.

  • KangDangaLang

    ……and by a couple blocks you mean 10-12?

  • whatever

    Arm>”evil downtown developers”
    Another straw man from you. I’ve never said they’re evil or bad. It’s human nature that they’re trying to use their wealth and political clout to get special financial advantages for themselves. The fault is with politicians who give it to them.
    The Paladinos, Terminis, Croces, Unilands, etc. aren’t evil but should have to pay the same fair share of taxes that have to be paid by the Joe & Jane average property owners here and by landlords from whom they’re luring tenants.
    Arm>”I suspect this, and not small government principals, is your motivation”
    What that suspicion overlooks is that my view is on the side of the vast majority of city landlords who don’t receive the special corporate welfare subsidies.
    So my view isn’t anti-urban at all. Just like opposing the Bass Pro corporate welfare wasn’t anti-urban even though that would’ve been in the city.
    There’s also examples of suburban projects given these same kind of stupid deals (cafe in Williamsville, medical offices in Amherst, etc.), but those are seldom written about on this blog. It’s nothing to do with urban or suburban.
    (by the way, it isn’t just historic credits either… there’s also ultra-narrow giveaways such as IDA breaks, the former Empire Zone program, etc.)

  • The Kettle

    Whatever> “by the way, it isn’t just historic credits either… there’s also ultra-narrow giveaways such as IDA breaks, the former Empire Zone program, etc.)”
    The article mentions just the historic tax credits as an incentive for this development. If this or other projects received this and not the IDA-Empire Zone breaks would they be okay in your book then?
    Whatever> Joe & Jane average property owners here and by landlords from whom they’re luring tenants.”
    If Jane and Joe own a national register eligible structure they will be entitled to these too as long as their rehab is “historic.”
    They will also be able to finance their home thanks to government assisted mortgages Fannie, Freddie, FHA etc. In addition, they are able to claim the STAR exemption which gives them an annual check from the state. If Jane and Joe are 1st time home buyers they will also qualify for SONYMA assistance with their down payment and closing costs.
    All of which are programs the loft barons will not be privy to.