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Webb Wins Preservation Award for Termini

Developer Rocco Termini was pleasantly surprised this week with the Excellence in Historic Preservation Award award from The Preservation League of New York State for his involvement in developing the Webb Lofts.
As stated: This statewide awards program recognizes individuals and organizations for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to the preservation of New York State’s irreplaceable architectural heritage.
The Webb Lofts, on Pearl Street in Buffalo, feature 32 apartments and a day care center in this five-story masonry building. After having stood vacant for more than two decadesthis circa 1888 structure had nearly reached the point of no return, when Termini’s Signature Development began the restoration efforts on in January of 2007. Completed the following October, the project cost Termini a total of $11M.
“This is the first time anyone in Buffalo has been given this award,” Termini said. ” We had to have the support of local preservation society to have this happen.”
As for occupancy, Termini said, “We have 5 units left. 27 are filled, along with all of the commercial space.”
When asked if he thought the Webb would be standing today without his intervention, Termini said, “Not with the wind storms we had last winter.” He attributes his ability to complete a job like this to the availability of tax credits, saying, “You need to raise capital from tax credits, but right now they’re down by 15 percent, and I have to take a rest [on more projects like this] until we get through this financial crisis.”
Termini went on to say, “The state doesn’t help. 36 other states have historic tax credits, but every time it comes up for a vote, [New York State Assemblyman Sheldon] Silver kills it. It would raise a lot of money for projects like this. If it’s not for New York City, Silver doesn’t care.
“It’s an easy thing to help, and we can’t get it done. Give us the same things–the tools–to compete, not hand-outs. We need reform,” stated Termini, who says he can envision many more projects like the Webb Lofts, with more State help.
Kenneth Markunas of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation described the newly restored building as “the best surviving local example of commercial Richardsonian Romanesque Revival structures and one of a handful of remaining cast iron storefronts in Buffalo.” Surviving is the key word because this project was not without its share of problems when Termini began to pull the building back from the brink of destruction.
Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League surmised that the building might have been demolished but for Termini and Carmina Wood Morris’ intervention. “Their careful renovation of the remaining historic fabric, along with a complete replacement of the ruined flooring system, has returned this building to useful service – to the benefit of neighborhood residents and the educational community,” DiLorenzo said.
Carmina Wood Morris, P.C, Architecture, Engineering, Interior Design; Signature Development, Rocco Termini, President; Webb of Buffalo, LLC, Building Owners, David Burke and Thomas Adymy; Burke Homes, General Contractor; and Siracuse Engineers, Structural Engineering Consultant all played a part in the completion of the Webb Lofts.
“Lights are now shining onto Pearl Street from apartments in this once-dark building, and developmentally disadvantaged pre-schoolers are making progress at the Vincennes Academy on the first two floors,” said Jonathan Morris, Principal-in-Charge at Carmina Wood Morris. “We are pleased to receive this recognition from the Preservation League for our work at the Webb Lofts, and hope this project will serve as an inspiration to others.”
Awards went to all of the following:
Webb Lofts in Buffalo, Erie County
MacNaughton House Stabilization in Newcomb, Essex County
U.S. Post Office & Courthouse, Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn, Kings County
Downtown Revitalization Program, Canajoharie, Montgomery County
Eldridge Street Synagogue, Lower East Side, New York County
Proctors, Schenectady, Schenectady County
Hotel Kirkland, Kingston, Ulster County
Model Development Block, New Rochelle, Westchester County
The Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors will be honored for organizational excellence, and Trude Brown Fitelson of Rochester will be honored for individual excellence. Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect a City’s Landmarks by Anthony C. Wood (Routledge, 2007) will also receive a special citation.
“Excellence in Preservation Awards are our principal means of honoring the preservation community and educating the public about the important contribution that historic preservation projects make to our quality of life throughout New York State,” said DiLorenzo. “Each year, we are impressed by the number and variety of laudable projects, and this year was no exception. We are delighted to give the Webb Lofts project the statewide recognition it deserves.”
The award will be presented at the Preservation League’s Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony in New York City at 6:00PM on Thursday, May 15th at the historic Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue. Termini will be present to accept his award.

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