If you know Fred Lofasso (Sienna Realty), then you know that he’s capable of just about anything. Just take a look at what he has planned for Niagara Street and you’ll see what I mean. While Fred is determined to seeing the Niagara Bicycle Building to completion, he is also smart enough to know that there needs to be more momentum in order to create a destination on the street. Not long ago Fred held an informational meeting where he invited some neighbors and community activists to sit down with him to discuss a forward thinking idea that he just couldn’t get off his mind. “What if I was to knock down a couple of adjacent buildings and construct a container park?” he said.
The concept of a container park is nothing knew, although it is new to Buffalo. The idea is fairly simple. These days there is a gigantic surplus of shipping containers (ISBU Modules) that are for sale fairly cheap. These containers are being turned into everything imaginable – swimming pools, dorms, modular homes, diners and even stores. While knocking down the two adjacent eyesores (see lead photos) will be a big improvement, a zone dedicated to reusing shipping containers for small start-ups is ingenious. Take a look at some of the images featured in the links above and you will see that the containers can be made to look modern, quaint, homey, progressive, etc. It’s really up to the imagination what one can do with these containers.
Fred feels that he could purchase the containers and do custom build-outs for businesses that might not be looking for expensive brick and mortar storefronts. The metal boxes also lend themselves quite well to custom fabrications, and are joinable and stackable. Imagine a container courtyard with a flower shop, a cafe, a clothing store, a tattoo shop… you name it. We all know that there are power in numbers, and if a quality anchor tenant could be convinced to come onboard, others would surely follow.
At this time, Fred is actually talking to potential businesses that might be a good fit for the container concept. This is another idea that could really jumpstart the Niagara Street corridor. It’s close to the heart of the city, not far from the Peace Bridge, with access points to major roadways. The possibilities are endless as both a business incubator site and/or a versatile collaboration zone for vendors. Some containers could be seasonal while others would most likely be insulated. If you have an idea that might be a good fit for a container, email Fred.