The Erie County Industrial Development Agency board will consider aiding the $4.2 million redevelopment of two Niagara Street buildings today. Sienna Realty plans to convert 297-305 Niagara into 21 apartments, 8,000 sq.ft. of retail space and 13,000 sq.ft. of office space.
Both buildings have been vacant for over ten years. The four-story Turner Bros. Building dates to 1852. Sales and mortgage recording tax abatements totaling $197,000 are being sought through the IDA’s Adaptive Reuse program.
“The architectural plans are just about complete and look great,” says Fred LoFaso of Sienna Realty. “I will be filing with the City for site plan review within the coming weeks. We are working our way through SHPO [State Historic Preservation Office] and are just about complete with the historical research.”
Several “green” components are planned include geothermal heating and an electric car charging station for use by residents. A rooftop patio is also planned. Apartments, each with about 1,000 sq.ft. of living space will rent for approximately $1,000 per month.
With engineering and design work for the Niagara Street streetscape project expected to start soon, LoFaso is hoping to correct some issues in front of the building.
“The sidewalks get narrower by approximately six to eight feet between Carolina and Virgina streets. In turn the sidewalks get blasted with thick ice and wet snow from the plows. This is the biggest problem and is a serious safety issue in a community where a vast amount walk out of necessity. The problem appears to be due to the 190 exit/entrance.
“Another issue is the fact that the exit/entrance area of the 190 is not pedestrian friendly and needs major improvement,” he says.
Renovation of the buildings will add to a string of recent multi-family housing developments in the West Village and Niagara Street corridor. Two condominium projects, the affordable The Whitney (six units) and the upscale Avant (27 units) are complete. Renovation of the four-story Robertson Cataract Building at 100 S. Elmwood Avenue into 26 loft apartments and commercial space is underway. Kissling Interests has plans for eight apartments in the former Lake Hotel on W. Huron Street and Ellicott Development is finalizing plans for rentals in the Greystone Hotel on Johnson Park.