Paul Kolkmeyer’s vision for the re-purposing of the Stanton Building in downtown Buffalo took two steps closer to realization with recent approvals from the Buffalo Planning and Preservation boards The 44,000 square foot building, located at 251 Main Street, is a landmark office building with a storied history, but has remained vacant for the last 14 years in the hands of its previous owner. The Stanton Building’s unique façade is made of cast-iron, and remains the only example of this use of iron in the city today. In fact, at five stories, it is the tallest cast-iron façade building outside of New York City.
The Planning Board’s approval paves the way for the conversion of the building into thirty-six one-bedroom, 1-1/2 bath apartments along with a first floor office where Priam Enterprises LLC – Kolkmeyer’s development company – will reside. The office suite itself is around 1,700 square feet, and fronts Main Street. Eight apartments are planned for the first floor, while the remaining four floors will have seven each. Two of the units will egress onto Washington Street with dedicated entrances. Rents are forecast to be roughly $1,000-$1,400 month, depending on location and size of the unit.
Last week, the City’s Preservation Board approved Kolkmeyer’s plan to install 54 new aluminum windows on the north side of the building, which is currently a solid brick wall facing a parking lot owned by “Forty-Fifth Street Holdings NY “, a division of Toronto-based CitiCom, and managed by Ciminelli Real Estate. This wall was formerly a party wall to a since demolished building. The windows are a requirement under NYS building code regulations for leasing the space as residential apartments. It is unknown whether Kolkmeyer has an agreement with CitiCom to ensure operable windows if/when the corner lot gets developed.
The Preservation Board’s approval also covered the replacement of old steel service doors on the Washington Street façade with a new pair of steel entry doors and glass along with security grills. The Main Street façade remains unchanged. Wylier & Associates is designing the project and Preservation Studios is working on the historic preservation tax credit documentation. The circa- 1873 property is located within the Joseph Ellicott Historic Preservation District.
The building was purchased last year from David Sweet for $646,569, along with two other adjacent properties also owned by Sweet: the Roblin Building at 241 Main and the Main Seneca Building at 237 Main. While the Stanton is currently vacant, the Roblin is roughly 40 percent occupied with commercial tenants, while the Main Seneca is faring a little better at 72 percent.
Kolkmeyer plans to convert the 16-floor Main Seneca building into a mixed use structure – floors 4-11 would be commercial, while floors 12-16 are being set aside for condominiums. The third floor would be used as a boutique hotel, while the smaller second floor mezzanine is planned to be a conference center. He plans to use the first floor to house a large banquet hall, run by a third party.
Kolkmeyer intends to keep the Roblin Building as strictly commercial, as it is presently, but is considering using its two basement levels as indoor parking for the condos in the Main Seneca building.