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Carmina Wood Morris Snags Three Statewide Preservation Awards

Carmina Wood Morris will be honored in May by the Preservation League of New York State for three of eight awards given for 2014 that highlight the best preservation development projects in New York State. The projects are 10 Lafayette/The Tishman Building, LAPC Lofts – Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, and the Remington Lofts on the Canal. Carmina Wood Morris DPC was also honored in 2013 for its work on the Hotel @ Lafayette and in 2008 for the Webb Lofts.

“This recognition is so rewarding because we had three different projects with three different sets of challenges,” said Steve Carmina, principal, Carmina Wood Morris, DPC. “We have been working with enlightened development partners that allow us to bring forth our special expertise to keep Buffalo’s historic past alive. We look at preservation as being a steward of our community’s history. To be honored with three of eight awards state-wide is a privilege.”

The League’s statewide awards program honors notable achievements in retaining, promoting and reusing New York State’s irreplaceable architectural heritage.

tishman1The Tishman Building project is receiving an award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.

“This mid-century modern building provides a compelling counterpoint to the Hotel @ The Lafayette across the square, which received an Excellence in Preservation Award in 2013,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “The 20-story building opened its doors in 1959, and was acquired in 2011 for mixed-use redevelopment. It now boasts 18 market-rate apartments, 124 hotel rooms under the Hilton Garden Inn flag, and commercial office space and restaurants. The project leaders placed a high value on retaining the building’s International Style character while bringing it up to modern functionality and maintaining exemplary standards for historic preservation.”

The project team included Carmina Wood Morris, DPC, architects; Mark Hamister of Hamister Group, Inc., developer; Buffalo Engineering, NEP engineers; Studio T3, structural engineers; and R&P Oakhill, construction manager. The project utilized both State and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

10 Lafayette is a refined metal and glass tower designed by Emory Roth & Sons, Architects and constructed by Tishman Realty & Construction Company. Iroquois Gas, later the National Fuel Gas Company, occupied the building until 2003when the corporation relocated to a suburban office park, leaving the downtown structure virtually vacant for eight years.

“I would say the biggest challenge was trying to bring a 1959-era building up to current standards for office and residential space,” said Jon Morris of Carmina Wood Morris said of the Tishman project.

“Current energy guidelines for the exterior of the building also had to be met,” said Morris. “That was accomplished by adhering new panels of double-paned glass to the interior glass. From the outside, it didn’t change the look. Inside the 20-story building, there was plenty of flexibility for laying out hotel rooms, luxury apartments, and three floors of office space for the developer, Hamister Group, INC. The tricky part was the mechanicals. Before, it was a central system and everyone got the same heat and cooling, but now we’ve got all sorts of individualized mechanical systems installed in the existing foot of space between the ceiling and floor slab above.”

“This project is a huge part of the momentum that is transforming Buffalo, and is a perfect example of adaptive reuse that benefits the entire community,” added Morris.

This project was brought about by Port City Preservation, Pastor Drew Ludwig and the congregation of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church trying to preserve its history and home, while reducing their financial burden. Adding loft units to this structure brought in revenue that allowed the church to maintain its structure as well as its community service. The old chapel was converted into multi-level units that revealed the wood truss that have been concealed since the 70’s.



A parlor was restored and and two-story loft were added units to the gymnasium. In addition, each loft has its own variation on the theme, some incorporating the old bowling alley lanes into the flooring, while others showcase the repurposed fireplaces and stained-glass windows.


This former industrial complex encompasses over 170,000 square feet of space situated on the Erie Barge Canal waterfront in the City of North Tonawanda. The building was restored by Kissling Interests, LLC, in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and adaptively reused as a mixed-use residential and commercial development.

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The Remington Tavern & Oyster Bar occupies the late 19th century “powerhouse,” the original home of the Buffalo and Lake Erie Electric Railway. The balance of the complex is a prime example of early 20th century concrete frame structures, built to create a wide-open workspace illuminated by natural light. Large industrial sash windows were restored and the concrete structure left exposed throughout 80 live/work loft apartments on the upper three floors. A wellness center and hair salon/beauty school occupies the first floor commercial space, with indoor parking for the residents contained in the back half of the building’s first floor.

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The awards will be presented at the Preservation League’s Awards Ceremony in New York City on May 13th at the historic New York Yacht Club, 37 West 44th Street. The complete list of award winners is: Daniel Conkling House – Rensselaerville, Albany County; Lafayette Lofts – Buffalo; The Tishman Building – Buffalo; DePaul Carriage Factory Apartments – Rochester; El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109 – New York; Pier A Restoration and Adaptive Reuse – New York; Remington Lofts on the Canal – North Tonawanda, Niagara County; and Rye Meeting House: Sustainable Preservation, Ecology and Conservation – Westchester County.

Written by Buffalo Rising

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