IS Lofts Slideshow
Although the skyline view may inspire thoughts of Buffalo’s history, the newest residential loft project on Oak Street is all about todayright down to the name: IS Lofts.
So many people in Buffalo keep dwelling on what was instead of what is, said project developer Rocco Termini. What was is gone. We’ve got to think of what is.
This story by Jennifer Rung appears along with many others in the current Winter/Spring issue of BRM which can be found at over 200 locations throughout the city.
IS Lofts, which will begin welcoming tenants in May, is definitely a reflection of Termini’s thinking. Located on Oak Street between Goodell and Genesee, it’s the latest in a string of modern-living loft development projects designed to bring more residents to Buffalo’s downtown core.
Specifically, it’s part of Termini’s vision to create a desirable new neighborhood in what he terms the Genesee Village an area he’s been developing on Oak and Washington Streets just north of Genesee for the last few years. In addition to the IS Loft project, Termini also developed the Oak School Lofts and will soon begin work on the Ellicott Commons, a combination of residential and commercial space. He’s hoping to attract retailers and restaurants to this location to attain the critical mass necessary for a self-sustaining neighborhood.
A major part of that critical mass: IS Lofts. Located in the former Kasting’s Flower Warehouse, it houses 24 one-bedroom units – 8 apartments on each of three floors, all facing southeast. Each apartment is accessible by its own private walk-up entrance via an outdoor patio / balcony. Perhaps the best news is the cost of rent each 700 square foot unit leases for just $635 per month. This is probably the lowest rent youll find among the many newly developed units downtown, and itll get you ultra-modern space, including an open floor concept, a gas fireplace, kitchens outfitted with stainless steel appliances and a granite island, and knee-to-ceiling windows with a fantastic view of the downtown skyline – including Buffalo Savings Bank’s gold dome and the historic Niagara Mohawk building.
While the building has been thoroughly modernized from its former life as a warehouse, Termini has maintained some of the more desirable industrial features, like the high concrete ceilings and the concrete mushroom support pillars, and exposed brick walls in the bedrooms.
At the same time, he brings some interesting touches to each unit, like floors with a white epoxy finish you can see your face in your floor! says Termini – and polygal translucent doors that allow the natural light to flow through to the very back of the units.
Residents will park in a gated lot directly below or adjacent to their units and enter through their own private door outside. (There are no common indoor areas, which makes this project different from many of the newest downtown development projects.) The building is just two blocks away from the Market Arcade theater and just steps further to all the attractions of Chippewa.
IS Lofts brings Termini’s total number of downtown units to 110. What gave him the confidence to begin buying and developing so much residential space in downtown Buffalo with no guarantees that if he built it, the tenants would come?
I saw what was happening in other cities, said Termini. Housing is the new draw for downtown.
While he’s pleased with the results of his projects to date (Oak School Lofts, which was opened just months ago, is already just two tenants shy of full capacity), Termini acknowledges that a number of other factors need to fall into place in Buffalo before downtown is fully revived.
There needs to be the political will for eminent domain, said Termini, pointing out some long-abandoned buildings that continue to slowly crumblewith no plans for use in sight. Termini also believes that home ownership downtown is the next step in breathing new life into an old concept.
Until that happens, though, Buffalonians are fortunate to have the option to rent stylish and affordable downtown units like IS Lofts an alternative that didnt even exist 5 years ago. And instead of dwelling on what was or even what is in Buffalo, we can all start focusing on what will be.
362 Oak Street