The Erie County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors today approved $212,900 in sales and mortgage recording tax abatements to aid the planned $5.2 million overhaul of the historic Graystone Building, located at 24 South Johnson Park.
5182 Group, LLC, an affiliate of Ellicott Development Company, plans to convert the 115-year-old structure into 42 market- rate apartments with first floor commercial space.
The six-story building was designed by Buffalo architect Carlton T. Strong and Ernest L. Ransome, an English-born architect who first experimented with reinforced concrete construction by using twisted metal rods to strengthen the material. When the Graystone opened in 1897, it was one of the first large-scale buildings in the nation constructed of reinforced concrete.
Originally called the Alabama Apartments, it was designed to house 120 luxury apartments. When market conditions failed to support the upscale plan, it was redone as the Berkeley Apartments, catering to short-term tenants. The apartment/hotel hosted hundreds of visitors to Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition in 1901.
Renamed The Graystone in 1912, it experienced several decades of decline, eventually becoming a 60-unit rooming house overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Ellicott's Carl Paladino purchased the vacant, structure in 2002 and began work to create a luxury residential property. However, renovations were halted nearly immediately after a large section of the roof collapsed during interior demolition.
In addition to tax abatements from the ECIDA, Paladino has also applied for $1.6 million in Historic Tax Credits to aid in the expensive and complex task of landmark building.
ECIDA officials also provided an update of 2012 loans and inducements. Through the end of March, tax abatement incentives were approved for eight projects triggering $77.1 million in private investments. The agency's Regional Development Corporation affiliate closed two microloans totaling $55,000.
The ECIDA board also held its annual meeting to elect executive officers and committee chairs. Board newcomer, former Congressman John Lafalce was officially installed as chairman.