The proposed apartment complex by Anthony LoRusso at 295 Maryland Street (corner of Maryland & West) was given full approval by the City of Buffalo Planning Board Tuesday morning after making some minor changes to a previous plan. Called “Casa Serena”, this project consists of a new building housing 54 market-rate one and two-bedroom apartments fronting West Avenue. There will be a main parking lot accessed from Maryland Ave, along with a smaller parking area located to the south accessed from West Avenue.
Balconies will face West Avenue, but the units’ doors will open on to the parking lot behind. Interestingly, this site plan had already been approved by the Planning Board, but the developers went back to the drawing board to incorporate some minor changes in response to community feedback, some of which came from a heavily-attended community meeting on January 19th:
– Unneeded parking was reduced to create additional passive greenspace.
– The dumpster has been moved to back of building, away from the side.
– The overall building size was reduced 15 percent
– The balconies are now to be ‘extruded’ (see picture), where they had been recessed in the previous design. This was done apparently to address criticism that it made the project too “suburban looking”.
David Pawlik, representing CSS Contracting, confirmed that in the previous Planning Board presentation there had been vocal community opposition to the older design, which represented motivation for the changes. “There had been some opposition, so what we did is we took those ideas…we took it upon ourselves to look at the project and how can we make it look more enhancing. There were some parts of the project the community didn’t like…we removed those aspects.” He went on to emphasize that Council President and Ellicott District Council Member Darius Pridgen has provided an endorsement letter, and was in full support of the project.
Pawlik indicated there will be board-on-board fencing around the entire perimeter of property, again, done in consultation with neighbors and the community.
The $5.3 million development is being financed by Anthony LoRusso along with Key Bank. James A. Rumsey is the project architect. The 1.6 acre site was purchased by LoRusso from the former Penn Advertising. It will include 48 one-bedroom and six-two bedroom apartments. Rents are expected to start at $765.