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Curtiss Gets Corniced, More

When it comes to cornices – like the rest of the no-expense-spared Curtiss Hotel at 210 Franklin Street – Developer Mark Croce is going all out. A team from Superior Contracting recently started work on recreating the building’s striking upper-most feature (swanky roof-top bar/lounge area aside). The original decorative cast iron cornice was stripped from the building many years ago by a former owner, a common but undesirable practice for aging early 20th century structures.

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At night, the cornice of the upscale 68 room hotel will become the lighted crown of three levels of exterior lighting, bringing the circa-1913 white terra cotta building to life in grand fashion.

At a cost of over $400,000, the cornice investment is purely an aesthetic addition as it was not required to be reinstated by the New York State Historic Preservation Office or the U.S. Department of Interior in order for the project to qualify for historic preservation tax credits.

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The cornice’s framing structure will be complete within a few weeks, though the final pièce de résistance reveal will take a bit longer.

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In addition to the ornamental cornice feature, the exterior will be surrounded by attractive new exposed aggregate sidewalks, new granite curbs and period lamp post lighting. In order for the team to retain creative control over what gets installed, the bill for these public streetscape improvements is likely to be taken on by Croce.

Further activating the streetscape, a door from the first floor corner 3-meal restaurant – featuring a revolving bar reminiscent of Buffalo’s historic Chez Ami Supper Club – will lead to patio seating along W. Huron Street. On the opposite corner of the building, adjacent to a planned porte cochère and main entranceway, workers are busy finishing the special foundation work for Buffalo’s first all-weather urban hot springs/Roman Bath experience.

Inside the building, large energy efficient custom restored windows have been installed, work on the top-of-the-line network of mechanical and electrical systems continues and the hotel’s rooms have been framed-out. There’s still work to be done, but the progress is impressive.

“The furnishings and fixtures are all picked out,” says Croce.

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Restored terra cotta-clad walls in hotel lobby

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Corner room and view

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Floor to ceiling windows

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Framed bathroom

Buffalo company Vera View LLC is designing a unique Curtiss Hotel room app which will contain a plethora of modern features for guests. From the app for example, guests will be able to summon their car from the complementary valet service or control the drapes, temperature and lighting in the room. “Everything imaginable will be controlled electronically,” says Croce.

Rooms are expected to start at around $249/night. The presidential suite, which Croce dubs “the best hotel room in Western New York,” will be around $499/night, all-inclusive.

The target completion date is prior to the end of this year, but they’re not going to rush it. “We’re hoping to have it done by then, but quality is the first priority,” says Croce. “If something takes an extra month to get right, then that’s what it takes.”

Young + Wright Architectural along with IBC Engineering designed the project. R&P Oak Hill Development is managing the construction, while the interior design is being spearheaded by Buffalo’s own Paul LaMorticella and company from Dream Designs & More.

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Rooftop bar with lake views

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Mark Croce and a future rooftop fire pit area

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Written by Tim Scanlon

Real estate and design nerd.

View All Articles by Tim Scanlon
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