Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation's plan for 85 lofts in the vacant Bethune Hall at 2915 Main Street has taken two steps forward. The Buffalo Preservation Board signed-off on the adaptive reuse project last week and the Planning Board certified the environmental document yesterday. The Planning Board is expected to give its final blessing to the project on March 15 allowing construction to begin in the spring.
The four-story building, to be renamed Bethune Lofts, is located next to Bennett High School and close to the LaSalle light rail station. Designs are in the preliminary stage, but the project calls for all new windows, exterior masonry repair and cleaning, a new entrance at the rear of the property (renderings), a fitness facility and parking for 148 cars. Residences will have 12 to 14 foot ceilings.
Carmina Wood Morris is designing the $8.5 million project and plans are to have the building achieve a "silver or better" LEED certification. Ciminelli will be seeking state and federal historic tax credits as part of the project's financing.
The structure was designed and built by Lockwood, Green & Company in 1915 for the Buffalo Meter Company, a manufacturer of liquid meters. In 1971, the State of New York acquired the building from The Singer Company, as successor to Buffalo Meter Company, and after a rehabilitation in 1973, the SUNY School of Architecture and Design moved into the building and renamed it Bethune Hall (named after Louise Blanchard Bethune, architect of the Lafayette Hotel, the first professional woman architect in the United States). Classes ceased at the building in 1993 and SUNY had been using it for storage prior to selling it.
Ciminelli is purchasing the property from Brooklyn-based owner Meyer Landau. Landau purchased the site for $384,000 in April 2006 through an auction conducted by the State. At the time of purchase, Landau announced plans to convert the building into apartments, artists' studios and offices but later switched gears and put the property up for sale.
LP Ciminelli will serve as construction manager. A January 2012 completion date is anticipated.
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