Things are looking up on Grant Street these days, particularly at the Potomac Avenue corner. Brothers Chris and Matthew Siano are completing a top-to-bottom renovation of 368 Grant Street and the make-over is impressive (click here for previous coverage of the project). The brothers’ HES Properties II LLC purchased the three-story building early last year for $32,500. The attractive masonry structure was formerly occupied by Phil Martino’s West Side Appliance and Furniture and was begging for new life.
Chris Siano moved to Buffalo in 1997 and pursued his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture at UB. For the last nine years he has worked as the Instructional Support Technician for Sculpture in the UB Department of Visual Studies. Matthew resides in Rye, New York and is the General Counsel of a multi-national investment manager headquartered in New York City.
In 2005, Chris purchased 112 Johnson Park, an 1860′s brick cottage that was in total disrepair. Together with Matt’s help, they did a full gut rehab of the residence, combining a modern interior with a historically accurate restoration of the building’s façade. The brothers rehabbed a circa-1860s brick cottage on Johnson Park and sought a follow-up project in an emerging neighborhood. They found what they were looking for at 368 Grant Street where the commercial strip is solidifying along with neighboring residential streets.
“Grant Street is close to the Elmwood strip and the residential development that’s pushing west from Richmond Avenue,” says Chris. “The block has fantastic architecture, cultural diversity, it’s close to the 198 and 190 and it’s right by Buffalo State College We have a 30 year time horizon and we wanted an area where we could get in on the ground floor and we found that on Grant.”
The building required extensive work. According to Chris the roof was leaking, the parapet was damaged, the plaster was soaked, the second and third floors were dropping, and portions of the first floor were collapsed into the basement. The mechanical systems were shot as well. All of these issues have been addressed including full interior demolition, rebuilding of the damage structure, asbestos remediation, new windows and storefronts, and all new systems.
“There haven’t been too many surprises because before we brought our general contractor (BRD Inc.) or architect (John Wingfelder Architect) on board we did demo and asbestos abatement,” says Chris. “That left them with a clean slate and no room for surprises. We did struggle to get the utilities updated, specifically the electrical. When we purchased the property, National Grid had a wire running across our building, powering our property and the streetlight. That required an easement agreement so they could get the wire off our building and install a new electrical pole. We lost at least a month working out those details.”
Nearing completion, the building contains 1,400 sq.ft. of commercial space, attached commercial garage bays, and two, three-bedroom apartments on the upper floors.
A few finishing touches remain including installation of new solid 3/4″ flooring throughout second & third floor apartments, insulating the building with spray foam insulation, and installation of appliances in the apartments including washer and dryer.
The Siano’s are looking for a tenant for the building’s ground floor. “We think the space is perfect for a local restaurateur,” says Chris. “The building’s position on the corner, its architectural character, its updated utilities, and the large garage bays make it a very appealing location.”
The brothers are not done yet. They have plans for more work in the neighborhood including a potential infill project.
“We’ve seen a lot of momentum on the block in the past 24 months and we want to keep that ball rolling,” explains Chris. “If the proposed student housing development on Grant and Forest takes shape we think there will be increased demand for retail and housing. We’d like to fill some of that demand with a new build.”
Get in touch with Chris if you have an interest in the apartments or commercial space, firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-304-2657.