I believe that The Cooperage stabilization project and ultimate loft conversion plan is one of the most exciting advances taking place in the city. The order of magnitude regarding this Civil War-era complex has yet to sink in to the collective Buffalo psyche. Developer Ben Obletz once proved that people would take a chance living in an area of the city that was considered a final frontier. He converted the Elk Terminal building into a series of lofts that continue to thrive to this day. Now Clint Brown has been handed the reins and his dream of rescuing and rehabbing the historic former E&B Holmes Machinery Co. barrel-making machinery complex is moving forward faster than ever.
There is something about The Cooperage project that makes me want to move to the waterfront. Actually, there are many things about the project that have captured my imagination. First of all, at one point, I thought that the complex was going to fall down or be demolished, following in the footsteps of McBride’s Tavern (still a sore subject) or the Harbor Inn (tragic). It was back in September that we first learned that project developer, Clinton Brown Company, had secured initial funds in order to rescue The Cooperage from an untimely demise. With the help of a $200,000 loan from the Preservation League of NYS (Endangered Properties Intervention Program), the building that will one day house The River Lofts is to be shored up. Following, the complex will be fashioned into a mixed-use residential/commercial showcase ‘model of new urban waterfront living’. I still get the chills just thinking about the potential. From Clint Brown:
“The project financing is being put into place and the drawings are being finalized. Peyton Barlow is the general contractor – the same company that performed the work on The Mansion, The Granite Works and the Elk Terminal Lofts. We’re expecting construction to start in 60 days… the project will take ten to twelve months. We already have a list of eighty people interested in living there and my firm might possibly move into the building. We’ve also been approached by someone looking into opening a design center for loft and home interiors. People are realizing that the building is right on the Buffalo River, next to a fourteen acre park and close to the Outer Harbor. About 25% of the space will be commercial space. All of the necessary removals have been done – the triage phase is complete. The rest of the building is being restored. This will be a model of integrating the new with the old. The front of the complex will be restored. What you see in the rendering is what you will see when the project is completed.”
The Cooperage is also close the HSBC Arena, Gallagher Beach, the Swannie House, McCarthy’s Irish Pub, Morrissey’s, Snug, Benchwarmers, bike trails, Emerald Beach, Tifft Nature Preserve, Times Beach Nature Preserve, The Hatch, Festival Park, Shanghai Red’s, a canoe and kayak launch, Milo’s Diner, The Commercial Slip, The Buffalo Bar and Grille, Dug’s Dive, the Maritime Center, the Metro Rail and other Inner Harbor amenities.
To learn more about The Cooperage, visit this site that tells you everything you will need to know regarding the history of the building and its ultimate conversion into a mixed-use waterfront destination. Click here to view a loft layout or here for Project Partners.