' Remington Lofts on the Canal development is just about finished. The $25 million effort transformed the Remington Rand plant into a mix of 79 upscale lofts and commercial space overlooking the Erie Canal. It is Kissling's first local project outside of Buffalo.
On April 26, the Urban Land Institute's Young Leaders Group of Western New York (ULI YLG of WNY
) toured the complex and heard from those involved with the project.
The 167,000 sq.ft. complex at 184 Sweeney Street originally contained Power House No. 4 of the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Electric Railway Co. The Herschell-Spillman company, the largest manufacturer of carousels for some time, moved into the building in 1899. In 1951, Remington Rand, an office equipment manufacturer, bought the complex. Remington Rand produced the world's first mainframe computer for the U.S. Census Bureau there but mostly used the building to manufacture typewriters. It closed in the 1970s.
Underutilized for over two decades, North Tonawanda officials pushed for redevelopment of the complex, part of an overall waterfront revitalization plan.
"We are concentrating on the waterfront area," said James Sullivan, Executive Director, Lumber City Development Corporation. "[Kissling Interests founder] Tony Kissling had the vision. This is the cornerstone. It makes all the difference in the world."
A mix of uses and a high quality design combine for a successful project.
Liquid Energy juice bar and café, a Kissling tenant at 298 Main Street in Buffalo, has opened on the building's first floor. Evolution Yoga occupies 7,600 sq.ft. of space and Leon's School of Hair Design has an stunning salon and training facility in 6,500 sq.ft. (below).
Tempo restaurant chef and owner Paul Jenkins and Mark Hutchinson of Hutch's will soon be opening the Remington Tavern & Oyster Bar in the powerhouse building, the oldest portion of the complex located along Sweeney Street just steps from the canal.
"We wanted to create a destination," said Serena DeSantis Kissling Interests' leasing agent. "Tony Kissling says if we had more of these buildings they would rent. We brought loft living to the suburbs."
Lofts range in size from 1,000 to 2,400 sq.ft. and are priced from $1500. The one and two-bedroom apartments feature 14' ceilings, custom maple cabinetry, granite counter tops, professional grade stainless steel appliances, fluted columns and expansive windows. Residents have both indoor and outdoor parking and access to a 4,400 sq.ft. rooftop terrace.
"Tony did it right," said Gary Bichler, Partner, R&P Oak Hill Development, the general contractor on the project. "He redeveloped the building without sparing a nickel."
The 167,000 sq.ft. complex is actually six different buildings constructed between 1895 and 1948.
Like every project of this scope, construction brought some surprises. The biggest was the need to rebuild the 1917 portion of the complex due to the poor quality of the concrete reinforced slabs.
Carmina Wood Morris, a local leader in historic preservation work, did the project layout and commercial design. Jennifer Kissling did loft interiors.
Jonathan Morris, Carmina Wood Morris Partner, talked about the challenge of putting a new use in a historic structure particularly when utilizing historic preservation tax credits. Architects and contractors must follow what's been approved by the State to meet the guidelines for obtaining tax credits while also meeting the developer's cost and design expectations.
The daylight factory's layout lent itself to residential use. The knee walls with large windows provide abundant light into the loft apartments. Window units designed for the building are now being utilized in similar factory rehabs around the country. The one-story loading dock area is now the building's interior common area where the juice bar, yoga studio, beauty school and restaurant can be accessed.
Said Morris, "It's a huge undertaking but it's not the responsibility of one person, but a whole team."
Get Connected: Kissling Interests, 716.853.2787