The Medical Campus might be known for a lot of things, bit it’s still not necessarily known as a thriving residential community, especially along the Main Street spine. But the potential is there, certainly. While Sinatra is fixing up the Phoenix Brewery building, and 916-18 Main Street is happily underway, there is finally a residential buzz that is emanating from this long neglected corridor.
As some of the bigger developments spread their wings, there are some smaller projects that are also getting underway. Take 888 Main Street for example. Building owner Peter Rouff first moved to Buffalo in 2007. It didn’t take long for him to settle into this city, and the first place that he settled into was a restaurant called Campieri’s, located at 888 Main Street. Little did Peter know that within a couple of years he would own the building. “I bought it in 2010,” Peter told me. “At the time, a lot of people were still unsure about Main Street, but the more I learned about what was going on, the more that I knew that I wanted to invest. Plus, I was very familiar with the building, and felt comfortable there.”
Today 888 Main Street is home to Coco Bar & Bistro – a fantastic looking restaurant that features a popular old world bar, classy murals, and one of the best patios in Buffalo.
After finding an operator for the first floor, Peter began to think about the residential opportunities upstairs. The place was pretty much a gut job, so he enlisted the help of a friend, Greg Suffoletto (Suffoletto Real Estate), who he had conducted business with on previous occasions.
With the help of General Contractor Mark Tufillaro, Greg helped to see the job through, even though his actual role is Property Manager – he currently manages 200 residential units in the city. Peter and Greg worked out an interesting arrangement, not one that you see in Buffalo very often. The way that it works is, Greg is leasing entire second floor, which he then sub leases to tenants. Greg handles all of the leasing and the apartment management. Then Peter gets a set amount of rent, without the hassles that come with it. This type of arrangement is called a Ground Lease.
888 Main Street boasts four sizable one-bedroom apartments. Formerly, the 38oo square foot upper floor was comprised of six smallish apartments, which Peter believes were probably inhabited by former restaurant employees (Chin’s Islander Lounge back in the days). Over the years the residential units fell into disrepair, and needed a complete overhaul. Work on the units began in November of 2014, and has just reached completion. The hallways and the staircase are still being worked on, but Peter has already scheduled an Open House, which is coming up later this week.
I stopped in last week to check out the apartments, and to ask Peter about his decision to invest into the building when he did. “Take a look around,” said Peter. “There are cranes everywhere you look. I came to Buffalo after completing dental school, so I know that health-science folks like to go out to eat and drink. Coco is celebrating its three-year anniversary. We couldn’t be any closer to the Medical Campus if we tried. Now the area needs more residential… not more offices. The more people that live here, the more retail and services with follow. I am very excited to invite people to take a look upstairs, to show off the work, with the restored original windows by J. A. Gulick Window Company, and the modern conveniences that are now in place. Now that I have figured out that I don’t have to personally manage properties like this, and I can leave it up to someone else who is does it for a living, I am already looking for my next project (details coming soon).”
Post photos are of Greg Suffoletto | Interior design work: ZDESIGN – FB