It has been a quiet year since Savarino Companies stepped forward with reuse plans for the White’s Livery property at 428 Jersey Street. The circa-1889 structure was nearly completely leveled by the City after its historic walls started crumbling. Neighborhood residents successfully lobbied the City to save the structure’s front and rear facades and distinctive tower. Savarino’s plans for an apartment project to be constructed within the building’s remaining walls are still very much alive.
The project scope has remained essentially the same- the new building will incorporate the remaining front and rear facades and tower. It will be three stories with ground floor parking but will now contian 14 units up from a previously planned 12. Savarino purchased the site for $1 in July 2008.
Engineers have questioned whether reuse of the remaining sidewalls is possible. An engineering report is due in several weeks. If the walls cannot be saved, the project will replicate what was there before. The new construction will retain the same profile/envelope as the original building according to the developer.
White’s Livery Apartments carries a hefty $3.4 million price tag. To make the project feasible, Savarino is partnering with West Side Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. to tap into funding sources only available to non-profit organizations. Due to funding restrictions, the fourteen units must be rented at an affordable level. These will not be low-income apartments, rents are determined by income levels in the immediate neighborhood, in this case, one-bedroom units are expected to start at $500 and two-bedroom units at $700. There will be income limits for potential tenants.
Along with private financing, the project is utilizing funding provided by the Community Preservation Corporation, $980,000 in City of Buffalo HOME funds, money received through the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal Small Project Program, and a just announced Federal Home Loan Bank of New York grant of $124,600.
Sam Savarino, Chief Executive Officer of Savarino Companies, expects the units to be attractive to D’Youville College graduate students and young professionals. Since the two-bedroom units only have one bath, he believes they will likely be rented by singles.
After renovations, the Stieglitz Snyder Architecture-designed project will contain 12 one-bedroom units with 699 to 929 sq.ft. of living space and 2 two-bedroom units of 1,025 sq.ft. The building will have handicapped accessible common space, an elevator, and handicapped adaptable apartments. Twelve enclosed parking spaces will be provided on the ground floor along with laundry facilities.
Plans for two parking spaces in front of the building on Jersey Street have been dropped after neighbors raised concerns at a recent Zoning Board hearing. The area will be landscaped instead. One option being explored is having two reserved parking spaces on the street dedicated to the building in order to provide the 14 spaces required by City code. A variance could also be sought to only offer the 12 spaces planned inside the building.
Plans for the project were presented to the Cottage District Neighborhood Association last night. The proposal is expected to be reviewed by the Planning Board later this month. If approvals are granted, work is expected to start next spring and be complete by the end of 2010. Units will not be marketed until after construction starts.