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On the Market: 9 Genesee Street

Long-time Buffalo Rising readers might remember the story behind this three-story building fronting on Roosevelt Plaza. Five friends, three in Buffalo, one in Rochester and one in Manhattan, purchased 9 Genesee Street in 2005 intending to convert the building into residential and commercial space. Operating under the name of SPA Lofts LLC, the group with no development experience wanted to contribute to downtown’s rebirth and even set up a blog for others to follow along.
Their experiment with downtown redevelopment has not turned out as planned and the property is for sale

The Spa Lofts proposal called for two apartments on the upper floors with retail on the ground floor of the six decade-old building. The interior was gutted and their architect, TRM Architects, finished the design work. The first-floor space would have been approximately 800 sq.ft. plus use of the basement. The second-floor apartment would also have been 800 sq.ft. with one bedroom, hard wood floors, and the original brick walls along the side walls. The third-floor unit was to be 1200 sq.ft. with 2 bedrooms, including a fourth-level loft space.
The group’s plan was to create unique space finished to a higher standard than most of downtown’s current crop of “luxury lofts.”
The first sign of trouble occurred in February 2006 when the construction bids came in and the costs were higher than expected. Eleven to 47 percent higher. This is what they wrote on the blog at the time:

“The 5 members of SPA Lofts, LLC are a bit concerned right now. We want to do this project. We want to be a part of downtown development. But we also do not want to go broke! “

“The Spa Loft guys were very diligent and had the means to pull it off, the real issue here was that none of them seemed to have a lot of time,” says listing agent David Doerr of Hunt Commercial Real Estate.
“We are looking for a buyer who can see this project through to completion. Redevelopment is no part-time job,” says Doerr. “We have wonderful and extremely detailed architectural renderings from TRM Architects which the owners are willing to share with potential purchasers. The issue was never money, but rather time.”
“They have gutted and cleaned out the building and the architectural drawings alone are worth a good amount to a new purchaser.” Adds Doerr, “The guys have layed the groundwork, it’s up for someone to finish up the good work they started.”
The property is listed at $140,000.
Get Connected: David Doerr, Hunt Commercial, 716.880.1903
View of Fountain Plaza from third floor.

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