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First Look: Bell Tower Lofts to Fill Demo’d Church Site

Forty apartments could soon fill the corner of Colvin and Tacoma avenues in North Buffalo where a church once proudly stood.  “Bell Tower Lofts” would encompass forty apartments in three buildings surrounding the remaining steeple of the North Park Baptist Church that was demolished earlier this year.  The demolition contractor, Sam DeFranks, purchased the property and is proposing the residential project.


Charlie Fashana at Hello Hertel has the scoop:

Sam DeFranks, owner of Apollo Dismantling Services and former North Buffalo resident, said he fell in love with the property, especially the towering steeple that can be seen from blocks away. So much that he decided to leave the tower standing and began working on a way to incorporate it into his plan for a high end apartment complex.

tacomacourtyardAt a community meeting on September 18th, hosted by Mr. DeFranks, he shared the above renderings, provided details of the project and fielded questions from the residents. Some highlights include: 

  • 14 one bedroom, 26 two bedroom units 
  • One dedicated parking space per unit along with bike storage  
  • The tower is restored and incorporated into the design 
  • Central, second level courtyard area for residents  
  • Garbage facilities are enclosed/concealed 
  • Future option to convert to condos

To my delight (and I’m sure to Mr. DeFranks’), there was just overwhelming support for this project. Coupling this great news with free pizza made this one of the best community meetings I’ve been a part of.

Minor requests that the parking lot be gated and the premises contain ample foliage were welcomed by Mr. DeFranks, and no concern was left on the table. He expects the rest of the city and construction “paperwork” to take them into the winter months and he hopes to break ground on the tentatively named “Bell Tower Lofts” in early spring. Time to complete would be about a year.



In April of 2012, the former North Park Baptist Church on Colvin Avenue was damaged by a three-alarm arson fire. The North Buffalo church had been vacant for a number of years after the owner, the Korean United Methodist Church, vacated the property.  Late last November, the owner applied for a demolition permit from the City of Buffalo citing, in large part, the damage caused by that fire.  Despite a scramble by preservationists and even at least one developer interested in reusing the church complex, demolition work started in January.


Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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