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High-End Apartments Planned for Upper Floors of 298 Main Street

After unsuccessfully searching near and far for office tenants for its vacant space at 298 Main Street, Kissling Interests is turning to a stronger market to fill the building- residential.  By the end of the year, the building’s upper floors will boast downtown’s newest, high-end apartments.

Kissling Interests, primarily a residential property developer, owner and manager, purchased the 11-story, multi-tenant office building in 2001 for $2.6 million.  Law firm Damon & Morey’s move to Avant in 2009 left Kissling with seven floors of office space to fill.

A $2 million renovation was planned to help lure new office tenants to the circa-1917 building.  Marketing of the space both locally and downstate found a few lookers, but no takers, and the renovation wasn’t completed.

dDSC_0259.JPG“The office market is soft,” says Kissling’s Executive Vice President Scott LaCasse, “particularly for B+ or A- space.”

Kissling began looking at alternative uses for the space last year.  With a steady demand for downtown living, converting the vacant space to residential use made sense.  It also benefits the downtown office sector by taking a large, contiguous chunk of space off the market.

The company has a growing portfolio of apartments in the city.  Many of its units are in historic residential buildings that have been upgraded.  As of late, Kissling has been converting properties to residential space, most recently the former Remington Rand plant in North Tonawanda and its Allentown Lofts project on Virginia Street. 

dDSC_0262.JPGLaCasse says the conversion at 298 Main Street will be complicated but will result in some of the finest units the company has constructed when the $8.8 million project is complete. 

The first six floors will remain commercial space while 26 apartments will be created on floors seven through eleven. 

“These will be very high-end, corporate apartments,” says LaCasse.  He says the finishes will be “SoHo-like” and “sophisticated.”

The building’s transformation will be from top-to-bottom.  All of the mechanicals will be upgraded, but few exterior changes are planned due to its location in a preservation district and the project’s utilization of historic preservation tax credits. 

Exterior upgrades will include new doors, stamped concrete sidewalks, architectural lighting (sconces) and new railings.

Inside, the lobby will get a stunning transformation that will include a new security/information desk and new marble finishes.  Globe Market will be remodeling to match the building’s new interior look.  Liquid Energy is expanding its space within the building and is adding a kitchen.  A full-service salad bar is planned along with an expanded seating area.

Kissling is creating a mixed-use building in the heart of the Joseph Ellicott Historic District.  In a downtown rental property first, valet parking will be provided and there will be a concierge on-site.

Kissling has arranged for parking at nearby 92 Pearl Street.  A short-term tenant drop-off area will be located off of Cathedral Park. 

dDSC_0267c.JPGUpstairs, units will be approximately 1,000 to 2,000 sq.ft. and are expected to rent in the $1,300 to $2,250/month range.  Residences will have stunning views of the buildings landmark neighbors including the Ellicott Square Building, Guaranty Building and St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Many units will have lake views.

There will be four, one-bedroom units with the remainder either two-bedroom units or two-bedrooms with “flex space.”

The flex-space units will utilize Raydoors, gliding, translucent interior dividing walls that will allow a portion of the main living space to be utilized as a bedroom or office, ideal for a live/work arrangement.

The eleventh floor, essential a penthouse level on the building, will contain just two residential units.  Each will have private, outdoor patios.

“We’ve found that good, quality finishes attract good, quality tenants,” says LaCasse.  “There’s definitely a market for high-end rentals.”

dDSC_0266c.JPGWork on the project is expected to start by the end of February or early-March and while construction may be disruptive at times, existing commercial tenants are on board with the plans. 

“We have good tenants that will stay through the renovation,” says LaCasse.

Including LaCasse.  Kissling’s offices are on the building’s second floor.

Carmina Wood Morris is project architect and Jennifer Kissling is working on interior finishes. The project will incorporate many “green” features and the project team is exploring LEED-certification.

There is approximately 30,000 sq.ft. of office space remaining for lease in the building, including all of the fifth and sixth floors.  LaCasse expects the building’s upgrades and the high-end residential will attract office tenants to the property.

“It will essentially be a brand new building,” says LaCasse.  “We’re extremely excited.”

Get Connected: Kissling Interests, 716.853.2787



Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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