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Group Buys Chunk of Northern Theater District

A trio of Theater District properties have a trio of new owners.  John Barry, Paul Kolkmeyer, and Chris Jacobs,working as Carriage House Square, purchased 33 and 41 W. Tupper Street and 347 Franklin Street for $700,000 from owner RLM Inc.  The purchase includes two carriage house buildings, the charming Henry Building at 41 W. Tupper, and the one-story Lincoln Coins and Stamps building at W. Tupper and Pearl. They have long-term plans to invest in the properties.

franklinstreet

henrybuilding

“The coin shop signed a three-year lease so they are staying put for a while,” says Jacobs.  “We will be incrementally renovating the Henry and other buildings as units become vacant.  Another reason we bought it is for parking.”

The three are renovating the nearby Birzon Building at 686 Main Street into a mix of commercial space and a dozen loft apartments.

“We felt we need to have parking in close proximity for the residential component of the Birzon project,” says Jacobs.

jacobsville

Jacobs, working as Avalon Development, has played a major role in the redevelopment of the 700 block of Main Street.  He has renovated half of a dozen properties along Main Street into a mix of retail space and loft-like office space that appeal to ‘creative’ and tech companies.  The project at 678 Main Street is the only one with a residential component – two units in the rear portion along Pearl Street.

Written by WCPerspective

WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • BuffaloBoi

    Parking? So…..no hope for in – fill on those ‘Shovel Ready’ lots? I’m sad now

  • Stateofmind

    BuffaloBoi I agree–my heart sank in reading that as well. Time to start thinking about walkability, density, and real cities again. The could be a fun, compact district. Ugh.

  • bfranklin

    This seems to be happening in a few neighborhoods.  If an investor sees some success in a small area, they continue buying, and subsequently the ‘shovel ready’ site nearby enhances their previous investment by providing parking.
    The lot on Franklin near Allen was recently purchased by an investor that has quite a few apartments in the area (he’s adding more at 481 Franklin).  I may be off on this…but I think there are a number of investors that focus on specific neighborhood/or within a few block radius.  When the area seems ripe for ‘bigger’ investors, they’re finding not much available, which is what is aiding in pushing up the prices.
    347 Franklin has always been interesting, but the blacktop in front of it detracts from it, no question.

  • BuffaloBoi

    I know this has been asked many times before, but I thought the whole point of living downtown (or in the city overall) was to ditch the car? So, why do all these small buildings need massive surface lots for parking? I luv the ‘city life’, but surrounded by dead space- surface lots. Who the hell wants to walk around those and we have a lot of those in the Theatre District alone. When is NFTA and our so called ‘leaders’ going to fight for metro rail expansion? 24/7 service? more bus’s on the road? Until that happens, many will continue to believe that they actually ‘need’ a car even if they work and party within walking distance of where they live. ….We are almost doing the right things in this city. The car culture just needs to change. (along with developers who think everybody owns a car).

  • Fingers crossed that after the coin shop lease is up they can be accommodated in a new build on that site (or elsewhere).  What’s really striking in the aerial is the crummy layout of the post office on Washington Street: convenient form drive up customers, lousy for a downtown setting. 
    Secondly, the vacant parcel in the Theater District where the Schmidt Bldg. and Teck Theater were demo’d.  The southern portion is owned by Schmidt’s Garage and the northern piece by Teck Associates (from Cleveland?).  With the Trico moving towards redevelopment and the Phoenix getting redone by Sinatra, infill on this site would really help to bridge the gap between the Med Campus and Theater District.

  • greenca

    BuffaloBoi 
    The vast, vast majority of Buffalonians who can afford a car have a car.  The number of people who voluntarily choose to forgo a car but earn enough to afford the newly-renovated downtown apartments is quite small.  Simply put, a developer will have a difficult time renting an apartment that charges four figures a month if there is no nearby parking.

  • biniszkiewicz

    BuffaloBoi
    re: “but I thought the whole point of living downtown (or in the city overall) was to ditch the car?”:

    No, that’s not the point. You will use your car less often and park it more often, but you won’t ‘ditch’ it. You’ll still want to go places you can’t walk. You going to hail a cab every time you want to visit friends who don’t live downtown? You gonna take the bus to the golf course? The only people who will abandon their cars are those on tight budgets and those who dislike cars.

  • North Park

    A family could get by with fewer cars however. Lyft is also a revolution in the taxi world, far more convenient.

  • BuffaloBoi This is fantasy land. Other than parts of dense cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco, people who can afford cars own cars. Life is more than walking to the store and getting on the bus. People like to hop in their car and go where they want go when they want to go.

  • BuffaloBoi

    So, how do the more dense cities stay so vibrant without endless parking lots all over the place?????

  • townline

    BuffaloBoi Much of it has to do with the banks.  Tough to finance a residential project if you can’t provide for what the banks view as a core requirement for living space.
    To begin to move beyond the parking-necessary condition of our downtown, the banks are one of the first pieces that need to be reformed.

  • KevinRyan1

    are

  • KevinRyan1

    Are we at that point yet or getting rid of parking lots?…lets get the remaining building stock fixed up first… then we can  in fill these lots…We are not at that point yet…It took a long time for downtown to crumble..its going to take a long time for it to completely rebuild..at least its moving in the right direction…but we will need to be patient

  • 5to81allday

    Could this mean Buffalo may be getting one of the world’s largest solar panel plants as well?  http://www.businessinsider.com/solarcity-panel-plant-2014-6

  • bfranklin

    KevinRyan1 Agreed.  As demand increases and rents increase, investors will pry the parking lots from those that own them when the land becomes more valuable for a multistory building vs parking.  It will take time, but those with a bit of foresight will reap the benefit.

  • laldm109

    townline BuffaloBoi Agreed. I think you might be able to lease a residential building without parking downtown – it might be a hard sell for some people, but I know a surprising amount of carless professionals in Buffalo. However – banks are very conservative and old-school. Even in way bigger, more progressive cities, they are loath to finance construction without parking. As cities across the country become less car-dependent (Buffalo included), banks will slowly reform themselves as well to meet market demand.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    THEY NEEDED IT FOR PARKING…..NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  • bfranklin

    5to81allday This is about the most stunning development imaginable.  Multiply Pegula dropping out of the sky to buy the Sabres/build HarborCenter times 5… Elon Musk buys the solar panel company that was coming here, with a plan/vision that is far more evolved than the previous ownership? This is would be unbelievable.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    bfranklin KevinRyan1 
    I honestly don’t ever see that happening. If anything someone would buy a different building further from downtown instead of trying to pry a parking lot away from someone in the inner CBD. I think it would just be too expensive. Theoretically, you could buy a lot in the CBD for 500k (estimate), or you could buy something a block or two east for 250(k). I don;t think Buffalo will ever be at a place where we’ve expanded east as much as we can.

  • greenca

    BuffaloBoi
    The vibrant dense cities (e.g., Boston, NYC, etc.) are much larger and have a much more extensive public transportation system, where one could consider going without a car, in fact, it may be more convenient in those places to do so..  There are also vibrant cities (E.g., Atlanta) where you would not want to be without a car.  
    Buffalo is a long, long way from ever being a Boston or NYC.  It wasn’t even in its heyday.  It’s too small to be able to afford the kind of public transit that these larger denser cities have.

  • bfranklin

    BeardedBuffalonian bfranklin KevinRyan1 On a bigger scale, we saw it with Delaware North building at Delaware and Chippewa.  It’s all about location.  You have people paying 2,000 per month to rent an apartment three blocks north of this, who don’t want to know about some project east of Main.

  • greenca

    BuffaloBoi
    I’m not sure how old you are, but from your moniker I am guessing you’re in your 20s.  I assume you have no children.  If you did, you would likely sing a different tune about the desirability of a car-free existence in Buffalo.  Try schlepping a two year old all over when it’s 15 degrees out and there’s two feet of snow on the ground.  Then add another child to the picture.

  • 5to81allday

    bfranklin 5to81allday speak of the devil.  BRO jsut wrote and article on it

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    greenca BuffaloBoi 
    ,,,,,,and they have parking ramps or underground parking in 99 percent of their buildings.

  • Thanks for the link and info!  This is an interesting development – could be huge for RiverBend if everything goes well.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    rubagreta BuffaloBoi 
    I read once that 2/3 of the NYC population commuted into the city each day. Either by car, bike, train or foot.

  • mayormap

    biniszkiewicz BuffaloBoi 
    I am so sick of this attitude. Even in Dallas, TX there are $1000+ rent apartment buildings that do not lump in parking. I live in one! If car mecca Dallas can do it, surely Buffalo can.

    I’m in my late 20s and my income puts me in the 95th percentile of earners. I have lived in New York, Milan, Melbourne, Providence, Dallas, and Buffalo.  I hate parking and I never drive. We exist.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    laldm109 townline BuffaloBoi 
    “carless professionals in Buffalo.”
    How do these “carless” professionals get to their job. Also, what salary range would you define as “professional?”

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    Stateofmind BuffaloBoi 
    Or you could think about it this way. Having those parking lots make these buildings instantly more profitable for developers and more desirable for renters. You can easily charge 30% more for an apartment with inclosed parking.

  • bfranklin

    BeardedBuffalonian laldm109 townline BuffaloBoi I watch a parade of them in scrubs walk (God Forbid!) from the Medical Campus to various Allentown apartments.

  • townline

    BeardedBuffalonian laldm109 townline BuffaloBoi My wife does not have a license – she takes the bus from one side of the city to the other.  I’m not going to disclose her salary, but she is most certainly professional, with a Master’s degree.  Not the “hipster” it sounds like you’re envisioning.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    …..and by a parade you mean? Also, i’d bet my left man part they just left their cars at home and still own one.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    townline BeardedBuffalonian laldm109 BuffaloBoi 
    There’s exceptions to every rule. Also, my girlfriend has a Masters Degree and only makes 30k a year. I’d consider her a professional too, but she couldn’t live without a car.

  • townline

    BeardedBuffalonian townline laldm109 BuffaloBoi Well I’m not sure what your point is?  I think the original point was that  there is a growing contingent of people who live without a car.  Downtown, which is what this article is about, is a place where you could quite easily live and get to your job without one.  No one is suggesting that everyone has to do it.

  • BuffaloBoi

    greenca BuffaloBoi  tell that to parents living in NYC, Chicago, Boston, Philly etc. who live in well, a  ‘city’ with mass transit.

  • greenca

    mayormap biniszkiewicz BuffaloBoi
    Well aren’t you special.  Brag much?

  • BuffaloBoi

    BeardedBuffalonian Stateofmind BuffaloBoi  meanwhile, we still have massive empty spaces in the heart of our downtown where people don’t want to walk around and we have zero spaces for retail, restaurants to move into and we are still left with, you guessed it ‘dead zones’.

  • greenca

    BuffaloBoi greenca
    Yes, as I pointed out above, those large dense cities have somewhat convenient and extensive mass transit.  Buffalo is certainly not anywhere near that league.  Try this out in Buffalo if you need to run your kids across town.

  • greenca

    BuffaloBoi BeardedBuffalonian Stateofmind
    You’re still on this “zero spaces for retail, restaurants to move into” spiel?  Have you even been downtown????  The place has an abundance of empty storefronts that could accommodate retail and restaurants.  Hardly zero.

  • bfranklin

    BeardedBuffalonian People that live on Franklin don’t drive to the Medical Campus.  There are 80 to 100 units along this stretch of Franklin rented to people that work on the campus.  I don’t think that’s news.
    If you need to, run an ad on Craigslist for an Allentown apartment and say within walking distance of the BNMC, and over half the people replying will say they have no need for parking.
    Things are changing.  I drive.  Can’t imagine getting to work, etc. without it, but that doesn’t mean everyone else needs to drive.  Those that aren’t, good for them.

  • BuffaloBoi

    greenca BuffaloBoi BeardedBuffalonian Stateofmind  having all these ’empty’ lots don’t help lure retailers. They need ‘high foot traffic’ which we are not going to see with all these surface lots. Have you ever been to a vibrant city before? They have hardly any parking lot and full of buildings. That is what we need to be doing here. Building buidlings instead of worrying about ‘parking lots’. Built mix-use parking ramps if parking is needed.

  • greenca

    BuffaloBoi greenca BeardedBuffalonian Stateofmind
    Chicken and egg.  A developer is not going to sink in millions of dollars into rehabbing a building or constructing a new build to cater to the handful of voluntary car-less people that live in Buffalo that could potentially rent those apartments.  Those numbers are extremely small.
    Case in point -Statler City.  Given its mammoth size, it’s a huge load for Croce or any other developer to undertake.  One important factor holding back its marketability as residential is the lack of committed parking for its future tenants.  If your utopia of a car-free reality were true, there would be people living in that building by now.

    Name me some similar-sized vibrant cities where people gave up their cars.  Bonus points if you can name some with a similar climate.

  • townline

    BeardedBuffalonian I don’t understand what your squawking is about?

  • greenca

    townline BeardedBuffalonian
    I think it’s sarcasm.

  • townline

    greenca townline BeardedBuffalonian I realize that…

  • BuffaloBoi

    greenca BuffaloBoi BeardedBuffalonian Stateofmind LOL, the reason Statler City isn’t filled up yet is because Croce is waiting for his ‘free’ handout from the state. We should have let the out of towner from NYC with ‘experience’ buy that building (he had a vision to transform the building into 500 apartments). So, let’s just let the ‘local’ guy who has zero experience in residential (only restaurants, nightclub and parking) experience buy the building. THAT is why the Statler is still empty.

  • LouisTully

    BeardedBuffalonian rubagreta BuffaloBoi  I think I read a similar figure recently.  It wasn’t until the defeat of Westway and trading in federal highway funds for transit improvement that numbers like that would even be possible in NYC.

  • paulbuffalo

    BeardedBuffalonian
    No.  Sorry, not true.  (I’ll have whatever you’re drinking, though.)

  • Stateofmind

    greenca mayormap biniszkiewicz BuffaloBoi I see it more as enlightening than bragging. I, too, am SOO tired of this “Buffalo doesnt deserve better” attitude.

  • paulbuffalo

    mayormap
    Dallas is making a major push on car-less initiatives.  I never thought I’d see it there but it’s certainly a positive change.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    greenca BuffaloBoi BeardedBuffalonian Stateofmind 
    You’ll never get an answer. Everyone on here thinks every city in the US is just like Chicago or NYC. They forget about gorwing cities like St. Louis, Orlando, Memphis, Sacramento, Austin, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Phoenix. Which are all very car assessible.

  • greenca

    BuffaloBoi greenca BeardedBuffalonian Stateofmind
    From what I remember the property was in foreclosure and in control of the bankruptcy judge.    Who was this NYC developer?  I don’t recall reading about them.  Did anyone besides Croce make an offer?
    Yes, Croce probably bit off more than he could chew with this project.  On the other hand, the talk of demolition was starting to increase once the building was shuttered and plywood was placed over its first floor windows.  I give him credit for pouring a lot of his own money to at least stabilize the building and re-open its ballrooms.
    Coming full circle in this discussion, If the developer you’re referring to placed 500 apartments in the building, where would he find the necessary dedicated parking for these tenants?  Even in the wildest scenario, giving you the benefit of the doubt that not every unit would need a parking space, assuming that 60% did, that comes to 300 spaces.  80% of the units would be 400 spaces.  That’s part of what’s holding back this building.  (That and the massive amount of dollars needed for renovation and rehabilitation.)

  • greenca

    Stateofmind greenca mayormap biniszkiewicz BuffaloBoi
    Mentioning that one is in the 95th percentile of earners, and has lived in six cities. besides being doubtful (late 20s, say 6 years max out of a graduate program, means you hopped around the world and lived in these cities an average of a year – I smell BS), does indeed constitute bragging and make me suspect of anything he’s claiming.

  • biniszkiewicz

    mayormap 
    re: “If car mecca Dallas can do it, surely Buffalo can”:
    Not at all. Dallas is orders of magnitude larger than Buffalo. Therefore, real estate in the core is much more desirable, a la Manhattan. Buffalo cannot magically summon that kind of density, and simply making the environment unfriendly to cars won’t develop that demand.

  • vhrix

    greenca I can vouch for OP.  Your doubt serves you ill here.  :/

  • vhrix

    biniszkiewicz mayormap Downtown Dallas is dense?  In what world?  Have you been to the city?  The place is horribly non-dense with pockets of housing scattered hither and thither across a multitude of square miles.  Like downtown Buffalo, Downtown Dallas doesn’t have a real supermarket within miles.  It doesn’t have the dense neighborhoods that we do in terms of Allentown, EV, West Side, Parkside, etc.

  • BuffaloBoi

    greenca BuffaloBoi  really, it never was like a Boston or NYC during it’s hey day????? Really? Did you know Buffalo was once one of the Top Ten Cities in the US a hundred years ago (during it’s Hey Days)? And guess how most people got around? It wasn’t by car. Try TROLLEY. And guess where those trolleys went too? From Buffalo to Niagara Falls with routes through the Tonawandas. Ride all the way out to Lancaster, East Aurora , by guess what? a TROLLEY. ….But, by 1950 our ‘leaders’ considered that system ‘outdated’ and encouraged everyone to ride a bus. At the same time it was the ‘American Dream’ to own an automobile and since we had auto makers here, it’s still encouraged to buy one. So, maybe, that’s another reason we are a ‘car city’?

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Ya bud..we aren’t NYC Philly or Boston. Not many cities in the us are like NYC Philly or Boston.
    Truth be told you’ve got a small number of neighborhoods benefitting from proximity to the medical campus. Talk with anyone who has to park there and they’ll tell you it’s brutal. BNmc officials have said parking is trouble and politicians are doing what exactly to alleviate the problem? You think it’s bad now….
    I’m in the camp of folks who would love to ditch the car for a majority of the trips I make…but with kids, dogs, and the accoutrements of today’s society it’s simply not possible. Expand mass transit and focus on eliminating as many trips as possible.
    When it’s profitable for owners to sell parking lots to developers for housing and the market supports it is when we’ll see infill. Gonna have to have metro expansion first….

  • biniszkiewicz

    vhrix biniszkiewicz mayormap
    fair enough.

  • greenca

    Even when Buffalo was one of the ten largest cities in the nation, it was still significantly smaller than NYC, Boston, Philly and Baltimore. At one point in the 19th century I believe Albany and Rochester were also in the top ten nationwide. That doesn’t mean those cities were metropolises, it means that besides the four mega (at the time) cities on the coast and Chicago, the second-tier cities still made it into the top ten. Buffalo was never near the size if NYC at any particular point in time.
    The days of the trolleys were cool. The routes were extensive and they ran often. They worked well because they served a much denser and compact population, It would be nice if they were still here, but they aren’t, and probably never will be. You can’t go back.

  • marlawitkowski

    I travel to Long Island/NYC for work quite frequently.  True, many more do commute into the city for work, but they also have the infrastructure to do so – busses, PATH trains, the LIRR, and a subway system that encompasses more than a single street!
    I work in one of the buildings mentioned in the article, and we have a good mix of both city dwellers and suburbanites in our office. ALL of us drive to work (with the exception of one person who has an apartment around the corner from our office). We all spend the majority of our day downtown; eating at restaurants, trying to shop, attending events after work.  The sad truth is that there many of the storefronts in our block are empty.  We have a selection of a few nearby restaurants, and one little mini-mart/deli to pick up a very limited selection of groceries in.  In the past 5 years I have seen sparks of hope.  For example, the re-opening of a few blocks of Main Street to cars, new development and businesses popping up in pockets on the 600 and 500 blocks. Parking lots are not the issue – it was a main reason that our building was ideal for us, and without our lot over 30 of us would be looking for a spot to park every day!  Cities like NYC and Boston have places for people to go and things for them to do! Until you have places – other than offices – for people to go to, you will not see an increase in foot (or car) traffic on Main Street.

  • amera

    I’d like to see some public transportation being built from the burbs to connect into the city or at least planned. 
     I think it may be time to build that rail from UB North to UB south.

  • JoeDoherty

    mayormap biniszkiewicz BuffaloBoi Right on. I am surprised by all this people-have-the-right-to-drive attitude. One of the themes of the CNU conference was making cities less car-centric. Buffalo does not need another parking lot. There are plenty. As people move back into the city—the “Great Inversion”, which is undoubtedly happening—we need to expand public transportation, starting with the light rail. Connecting the Elmwood Village and the West Side to downtown would be awesome, too. Hopefully, then, people working on the medical campus will WANT to live in the city so they don’t have to deal with parking.