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Ohio Developer Eyes A&P Warehouse for Conversion

Most development in Buffalo has been by local firms: Ellicott Development, Ciminelli, Uniland, Rocco Termini, Roger Trettel, Larkin Development Group, Savarino Cos., Sinatra & Company Realty, Benderson Development, Karl Frizlen, The McGuire Group, Mark Croce, TM Montante, Jake Schneider, Krog Corp., Doug Swift, Terry Pegula, and others.

It was only a matter of time before outside developers took notice.  One is apparently ready to take the leap.  Miller Valentine Group (MVG), an Ohio-based developer, property manager, and contractor, is looking to acquire and renovate the former A&P Warehouse at 545 Swan Street.  The A&P property occupies the block bounded by Swan, Hamburg, Myrtle and Jefferson Avenue at the edge of the Larkin District.

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The eight-story A&P Warehouse would be converted at a cost of over $26 million and contain approximately 120 apartments and indoor parking.  Apartments would include both market-rate and income-restricted units (typically 60 or 80 percent of area median income).  Architecture, engineering and interior design firm Carmina Wood Morris is preparing the reuse plan and the project is listed as an informational item on the November 6 Preservation Board agenda.  The property is not within a preservation district but the project is expected to utilize historic preservation tax credits.

A development group headed by Rocco Termini had eyed the property for conversion to 150 to 200 apartments and a new home for the City Mission last year.  The City Mission reversed course and decided to expand and its present location at Oak and E. Tupper streets.

The A&P property is adjacent to another adaptive reuse project that will feature 31 market-rate apartments and 18,500 sq.ft. of office space at 550 Seneca Street.  It is being undertaken by Frontier Group of Companies.  CSS Construction will be an investor and serve as the general contractor for the $5.4 million project that has also been designed by Carmina Wood Morris.

Miller Valentine Group’s proposed development is across the street from Savarino Companies and FFZ Holdings’ 500 Seneca Street project that will include 140 lofts.   Box Factory Lofts will be located in the oldest portion of the complex at Hamburg and Seneca streets.  Work on both the 500 Seneca and 550 Seneca projects is underway.

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Written by WCPerspective

WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • runner68

    FANTASTIC news!

  • Buffaboy

    A&P BABY! LET’S GO!!! And, there is outside investment! Who would’ve thought?

  • micahh64

    Buffaboy 
    With the positive press the city has been getting, it was just a matter of time.
    We should refer back to this next time someone whines about how poor Buffalo is, how its population is decreasing, and how there’s no investment . . .
    .

  • micahh64

    Note to Miller Valentine Group:  please keep the “Atlantic & Pacific” ghost signage . . .

    .

  • SoBuff

    micahh64 yuck who wants corporate advertising, surely there are billboard laws we should look up and create a petition to have them taken down, I don’t want buffalo known for a liquor chain  /s

  • biniszkiewicz

    There are still thresholds to be crossed in this project, including SHiPO review for tax credits. The property is under contract, but it’s not a done deal yet. Closing is anticipated to be sometime around April, with work beginning shortly thereafter if all goes well.
    Miller Valentine owns more than 11,000 apartments in 11 states and is expanding into 6 more states. They manage another few thousand units of residential as well. They also own and develop industrial, office and retail centers. They are a major developer.
    Should this deal close (so far, so good), I get a commission! (Colby Development, LLC, for whom I work, represents the MV in this transaction).

  • biniszkiewicz

    SoBuff micahh64
    “I don’t want buffalo known for a liquor chain”:
    They are mostly groceries, not liquor (though that is a division now). Until 1975 it was the largest grocery chain in America. This building was constructed for them and until 1965 was used as their main warehouse. It is the history of the building which would be preserved.

  • micahh64 Buffaboy
    oh, and how no one will ever want these old buildings, they’re ugly, they’re white elephants, they’re rat-infested, get rid of them.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    As it currently stands, pre-conversion–is the A&P Warehouse the ugliest building in Buffalo city limits?  I realize that an argument can even be made for the building directly next to it, but.  Anyone want to one-up this with some photographic evidence?  Given Black Rock/Riverside (sorry, Lifer), Babcock area, other areas that are equipped with industrial relics that not even the staunchest preservationist would want to save, I’m certain that the above can be beat, but I can’t think of any specifics offhand.  After all, in its current state, this is a decidedly hideous building.  A couple buildings directly on Niagara have always appeared remarkably unappealing from the vantage point afforded by the 190, which is the perspective I’m more familiar with than the actual on-the-street view (but now that they’re getting a suburban-style Tim Horton’s, that’s sure to change!).  There’s a building over Broadway-Bailey way that comes to mind, vaguely (not Datesweiser HQ, heh).  Should try to compile a top ten.  Might be in opposition to the spirit of Buffalo Rising, but I’m kinda partial to ruinporn myself, given that such images square well with the environment to which I’ve long been exposed.  So, what is our *best* answer to the Packard plant in Detroit?  When that NYC guy who gives “urban decay” tours around here (as well as in N Korea, somehow, lol) comes back with his next cadre of intrepid slumming enthusiasts, what might he consider his tour centerpiece?  We’re not looking for hidden gems, Tour de Neglect-style, we’re targeting all-too-obvious eyesores

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    biniszkiewicz SoBuff micahh64 
    “/s” was meant to designate sarcasm/satire, methinks.  Interesting info nonetheless–might have triggered a false memory in me, as I wanted to say that I can recall seeing/passing A&P locations in much the same way that I can recall Bells or Super Duper, but I think I’m probably just struggling to summon residual memories of P&C (rather than “A&P”)locations in CNY/Finger Lakes region

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz 
    I’d love to see that list- there really aren’t too many large industrial buildings ((baggage building at Central Terminal and Wonder Bread on the east side come to mind (is it vacant?))  Maybe it’s only me but I don’t see the A&P as an eyesore even in its present condition (except perhaps the white painted east façade).

  • biniszkiewicz

    Matt Marcinkiewicz biniszkiewicz SoBuff micahh64
    didn’t catch the sarcasm indicator. Glad it wasn’t intended seriously.
    A&P had locations in town into the early ’70s. Don’t know from where they moved distribution to at that time, but I remember at least one store in front of Two Guys (now Burlington/Cabela) across from Galeria

  • biniszkiewicz

    wcperspective Matt Marcinkiewicz
    “Maybe it’s only me but I don’t see the A&P as an eyesore even in its present condition”:
    I’ll second that. Granted it will look worlds better redone, but it’s not exactly horrendous, imo.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    biniszkiewicz Matt Marcinkiewicz SoBuff micahh64 
    Ah ok, so yeah it does pre-date me.  I was born in 1986.

  • SoBuff

    biniszkiewicz I know I made a joke about the Labatt Silos since they too were originally painted and had the companies logo on it and everyone flipped out (you didn’t I know) People seem to only use the Historical Accuracy Card when it suits them.
    For the record I do like the ghost writing, I take the 15 bus  and drive by this all the time.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    wcperspective Matt Marcinkiewicz 
    Yeah, our opinions definitely differ on this one.  I live in West Seneca, have a not-entirely-functional relative in South Buffalo whom I visit/help out occasionally (and usually end up continuing on to Elmwood when I do that), so by some way or another I end up seeing this building often enough, and I prefer to avert my eyes when it’s in view.  Its ugliness is probably better appreciated in person

  • No_Illusions

    Fantastic. Another step into turning Larkin into a vibrant 24/7 district.
    Now if only we could get a metrorail extension to this site, everything would be perfect.
    The right of ways already exist, its a short distance, and there is a lot of space for a large park and ride for people coming into downtown from the 190.
    In the short term, Buffalo can definitely focus on these short expansions that make sense financially.

  • ImissBuffalo

    Is this project already under way? I was driving on Seneca where the bridge goes over the train tracks and they were already working on knocking out the covered windows in the building closest to the road. In the image below it would be the building on the right

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    ImissBuffalo 
    Based on what was said above, I’m guessing that’s “The Square at Larkinville”.  I defer to wpc though

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    ImissBuffalo 
    or wcp, rather.  West Perspective Coast doesn’t make too much sense now does it

  • Yes- underway and should be done by May

  • buffalorr

    micahh64-That “x-poorest city” city reference is so irritating to me also. Many list’s show that there are area’s in the country that rank below Buffalo when the entire region is taken into account or the land area of a city is much greater than Buffalo’s small 49 square miles. It’s a huge distortion of the Buffalo regions wealth and promotes a falsely negative image IMO.

  • buffalorr

    Reminds me a little of the Trico #1 plant only more run-down looking in its current state. Speaking of which Trico #1 renovation has still not started I was told due to some difference over how the old ice house area should be renovated. Seems there are different opinions between the State of NY Preservation Board and the Developer in order that the work comply with historic preservation guidelines. Hope this doesn’t sink the project.

  • Buffaboy

    I always thought this bombed out decrepit building near the 198 could be redone one day

  • sabrefan

    buffalorr I’ve been waiting to hear an update on Trico. What a step that would be. Hope nothing comes along that proves to be too much of a snag.

  • biniszkiewicz

    Buffaboy
    It’s available. 44k’, $300k. Does not include adjacent building with which it shares some common stairwells (both buildings were formerly part of a single company). 
    Makes sense for Buff State student housing, imo.

  • buffalorr
    agreed.  “poorest city” rhetoric always seems to be an argument for accepting bad urban design with gratitude, or opposing investment in x neighborhood because y neighborhood isn’t getting any, and so on.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    buffalorr 
    Depends how you look at it.  I think it promotes a realistic view of the city itself, and realism is unequivocally good even if it is “bad” psychologically (I speak of other things here as well as the topic at hand).  We still haven’t come close to properly addressing the majority of this city (area-wise), and until that happens I’m all for a continued recitation of relevant facts and figures, however inconvenient they might be

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    buffalorr Basically, as long as the East Side remains the East Side, this city as an entity is fucked.  Not to say that the West Side, increasingly the South Side, and DT aren’t also issues.  But the East Side, which is the plurality if not the majority of the city’s square mileage, is basically Detroit.  It is a national embarrassment.  Until that changes, I’ll call you on your unwarranted optimism anytime.  And yes, I say this from the suburbs.  But I say this as an engaged suburbanite.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    grad94 buffalorr 
    If your two contentions are correct, I’d then argue that the aim of continued, slightly repurposed usage of such rhetoric would be to remind people that are city as a whole still is in terrible condition relative to the rest of the nation.  No more, no less.  Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo.  As far as I know, that’s still the rundown of the three poorest cities (x>200k or whatever) in the country.  Needs to change, and I’ll be shocked if/when I can say that Buffalo city limits has been lifted out of the bottom ten…we’d drop below the population threshold before our median/mean income actually rose to the needed point

  • buffalo cyclist

    Matt Marcinkiewicz grad94 buffalorr Actually, Rochester is now the third poorest and Buffalo the fourth poorest.  
    Also, the third poorest city statistic is somewhat deceiving.  It makes no attempt to adjust for differences in the cost of living (its much more difficult to survive below the poverty level in NYC than in Buffalo).  The result being that poor people tend to move out of cities like NYC and San Francisco (there aren’t many $300/month apartments in those cities)  and to cities like Buffalo.
    Also, third poorest city does not include the benefit of non-cash transfers like SNAP and medicaid.  This is important when comparing Buffalo to many cities in Red States, given that Buffalo’s poor can obtain health care via medicaid/Obamacare, but cannot do so in many southern cities.  
    Also, as buffalorr stated, in many states, the Buffalo suburbs would be considered part of the city, which would change the statistics.

  • 300miles

    wcperspective Matt Marcinkiewicz   I wouldn’t consider it ugly either.   People need to see through the cosmetic decay to the beauty and potential underneath.   Just like those cheesy movies where the “ugly” girl takes off her eyeglasses and gets a haircut and “suddenly” she’s pretty.   🙂   Some buildings are just plain ugly, but none of these worn-out industrial factories would classify as ugly in my book.   They just need to get polished up.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    300miles wcperspective Matt Marcinkiewicz 
    Cosmetic decay can be overwhelming.  How does a formerly good-looking dead person appear in a coffin?

  • SoBuff

    ImissBuffalo yea that building on the right is pretty much gutted right now

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    buffalo cyclist Matt Marcinkiewicz grad94 buffalorr 
    People tend to move out of cities like NYC and SF to cities like Poughkeepsie and Oakland, respectively.
    if metro areas are considered, well, I’d be interested to see those stats.  Of the top 60 metro areas, or whatever it essentially is given 1 million plus (barely allowing both ROC and BFLO), what would then be worse off that wasn’t already?  Detroit would suddenly be more prosperous than Buffalo per capita, given Oakland County’s affluence.  Cuyahoga is probably neck-and-neck.  Monroe County (ROC) is probably slightly more affluent than Buffalo even if you are correct regarding the cities themselves.  I could see greater Toledo being worse off, except I doubt that’s 1 million people (800k maybe).  Something like Stockton-Modesto CA might be worse off. 
    I honestly think you might be doing Buffalo a disservice if you switch metrics to metro areas…but I’m just going off the cuff; you have google on your side

  • bufforward

    biniszkiewicz Buffaboy I see it every day on the drive home and think the same- student housing. I’m surprised Buff State isn’t more integrated area as far as I’m aware. what was “The Yard” anyway?

  • bufforward

    Matt Marcinkiewicz buffalorr The “poorest city” moniker also says a lot about segregation by race and class in our area.
    Erie County as a whole is quite average economically when compared to the rest of the county, but the city of Buffalo is not. Statistics show that buffalo is heavily segregated by both economics as well as cultrally and racially, and the dividing lines are similar in both cases.
    Point being, as much as economic development is a huge focus here, racial, cultural and class integration in our area really needs to improve as well.
    Not only would this have a positive impact simply on the perception of the economic conditions of the city of Buffalo, but more interaction and diversity would likely result in practical economic benefits as well.

  • bufforward

    No_Illusions Usually I think metrorail extensions are pie in the sky pipe dreams, but a straight shot extension to Larkin really does make sense- the impact would be huge. Imagine all those workers over there having easy access to the CBD during their work day.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    bufforward Matt Marcinkiewicz buffalorr 
    Wonder how long it would, or it will, take to accomplish.  What’s the most integrated place in the United States?
    I, offhand, cannot think of a city/metro area truly consider integrated in every way.  Not a single one.  I could be wrong though; please, find me those exceptions…singular if needed
    Long live racism and classism.

  • keetz4

    Matt Marcinkiewicz grad94 buffalorr Your understanding is incorrect. The poorest cities in this country typically are in the South or TX:

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/local-news/census-calls-city-poorest-in-nation

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    bufforward buffalorr 
    after some thought and some swigs on some beer(s)–San Jose?  Maybe?  Pretty well off though, I think.  And I know little about actual living arrangements. 
    Hard to generalize from one place to another, anyway.  Every place has its distinct “unliftable” (to attempt to coin a term–“unfathomable” might be better, albeit slightly different from what I initially intended) history and ongoing present/future so as that lessons “learned” from another place can only be so applicable
    Here in Buffalo, it’s me, you, OldFirstWard, Newell, Rand, Michael DiPasquale, grad94, chadjohnson400, various former presidents, hockeyhips83, binszi-mylast 7 letters, LouisTully, greenca, etc.  The Internet tends to stifle the individual voice, regrettably, even as it ostensibly empowers.  But, it does offer the given anonymous participant the ammunition to eventually make a voice for oneself–I’d say it’s more effective in that regard than older methods. 
    But techno-deprived community is good, or can be.
    Fuck, I have no way of concluding whether any of this dialogue matters, except for in my own case, where I can have the slightest understanding of its effects.
    I don’t know what it does for buffforward…ah the folly of living

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    keetz4 Matt Marcinkiewicz grad94 buffalorr 
    Well, the bottom five are devoid of Texan listings, but yeah, all southern if we include southern CA.
    Thanks for the link; I was getting caught up in a Rust Belt vortex that ignored the more decentralized poverty of the South.  They know their rural poverty down there. 
    Buffalo’s still an economically depressed area, despite its not landing in the bottom five here.

  • 300miles

    Matt Marcinkiewicz 300miles wcperspective   LOL.   but I wouldn’t consider anything cosmetic to be deadly.   Picture the exact same building cleaned up with new windows and it’s prime real estate.    Dead buildings would be beyond repair.

  • North Park

    300miles Matt Marcinkiewicz wcperspective Paint is a big deal too.  Concrete buildings like this look terrible when the paint starts peeling.  See the grain silos as an example.  Look great painted, terrible peeling.

  • seq004

    This is incredible in a way. I grew up in western NY and now have live in Ohio for most of my adult life. That a firm from Ohio is buying this I think says Buffalo’s hot real estate is not just attractive to Buffalo but to the outside market. Congats Buffalo!

  • GotAnyChange

    ImissBuffalo  Drove by today and all of the main buildings’ window openings were already knocked out. Definitely underway.

  • BuildBuffalo

    I’m sure something buffaloish will happen

  • OldFirstWard

    biniszkiewicz
    I thought Two Guys was the first tenant in the K-Mart building down the road. 
    I remember an A&P in Angola next to the main line railroad on Main St. in the village. The empty building is still there.  
    Loblaws at South Park and Louisiana St. formally used by Webers Mustard now currently taken over by Morgan Linen.
    Park Edge at Abbott Rd near McKinley now used by an auto parts store and dollar general.
    Twin Fair/Gold Circle at the Seneca St. city line behind a dumpy Burger King and currently unused.

  • biniszkiewicz

    OldFirstWard biniszkiewicz
    Two Guys and K-Mart operated simultaneously. I had friends in high school who worked at both. K-Mart hangs on by the skin of its teeth due to its decades old extremely cheap (now) lease.

  • bufguy

    biniszkiewicz Matt Marcinkiewicz SoBuff micahh64 
    There was an A&P on Hertel Avenue in between Wallace and Starin…It later became a CVS…It closed in the early 70’s

  • bradman

    bufforward biniszkiewicz Buffaboy The space was eyed for private redevelopment into an off-campus student center called Rock Harbor Commons back in 2008 but the effort fell flat.  The Yard at Rock Harbor Commons was an outdoor concert venue that hosted a few events but otherwise fizzled fast.  BR did a few articles about it back then:

    http://artvoice.com/issues/v8n5/news_briefly/rock_harbor_commons

    http://rising.wpengine.com/2008/08/the-yard-heats-up/

    Not sure as to the reason for the project failure.

  • ElmwoodRulez

    the new hospital is pretty damn stupid looking. most of the giant new glass boxes… impossible to weatherize and a fortune to heat. this place is atank and will be here long after the medical campus stuff is gone.
    hsbc tower too

  • armyof100clowns

    I am currently on business in the DC area and had lunch with a colleague of mine. She claims to have seen two commercials promoting Buffalo in the last month.
    If she is remembering correctly, that’s pretty huge.

  • I’ve seen StartUpNY ads in CNN a few times with some bflo views

  • OldFirstWard

    Some updated photos I took today of the renovation at 550 Seneca St. to be called the “The Square at Larkinville.”  Carmina Wood Morris is the project architect and furnished the rendering to BR.

  • OldFirstWard

    Side view from Seneca St at Hamburg St. :

  • OldFirstWard

    I consider this project to be quite an ambitious undertaking.  Of all the vacant building rehabs I’ve seen over the years, this building, especially on the exterior, is very challenging.  A rare solid concrete structure which appears to be stable and yet the facade is crumbling with rebar showing in various spots.  I would imagine that either dryvit or some other bonding material will be applied as a base coat with color added.  Though I’ve often thought about the future of the building in passing many times I never expected this building to be rehabbed due to the exterior condition and odd shaped additions that gave the complex an unfavorable appearance.  This is a special bonus for the rehab portfolio and one to watch closely.  Beautiful rendering by Carmina Wood Morris.
    Also of note, the ramp and side garage door are recent additions if I remember correctly.  The previous owner or tenant once had cars stored there and added both entranceways for better access.

  • GotAnyChange

    Seeing that building redone and lit up with a cleaned up property would be a great image post from the scajaquada