Belmont Housing Resources of WNY (BHR) is close to completing $7.5 million renovation/reconstruction of a warehouse at 1490 Jefferson Avenue. Once finished, the former 66,000 square foot warehouse will include 30 apartment units, a community center and two commercial spaces. The project, in the hands of CSS Construction (General Contractor) and Silvestri Architects, is scheduled for completion this summer.
BHR is in the business of building and operating affordable housing.
A quick Google image search brought up the former condition of the building’s facade, which was nothing to write home about.
It’s too bad that the original character of the building could not have been unearthed. We can plainly see by examining the side of the building that it once had some historic character that could have gone a long way to adding some architectural interest to Jefferson Avenue.
The new facade is a mixed blessing. It’s far from the appeal of the original brick structure, but it beats the unholy facade that predated this project. The new design is par for the course for Buffalo development these days. There’s a sterilized dormitory look about it that is pretty vanilla.
Jefferson Avenue is one of the up and coming streets in this city. As the West Side continues to progress in leaps and bounds, developers are starting to look eastward. Jefferson Avenue is bounded by Canisius College and Swan Street (close to Larkinville). The street will one day act as a main urban connector. The commercial viability of Jefferson is also promising. There are enough intact houses and buildings to envision prime density. It will take sensitive infill, infrastructure improvements, and beautification measures to pull it off, but the tides are already turning. An art festival has sprung up on Jefferson in recent years (see here) and a Fillmore Corridor Neighborhood Coalition has been formed (see Facebook). All of this bodes well for a street that has enormous potential to become an East Side destination that would ripple through adjoining neighborhoods.
Adding even more interest to Fillmore Avenue is Torn Space Theater’s announcement that it will relocated to Fillmore Avenue. The theater company will be building on the site of a former Sunoco gas station (see Buffalo News article – photo courtesy of Integrated Environments + Architecture).
Potential abounds on this street, which can be seen by examining the built environment that remains. Take, for example, this old Hasselbeck Cheese Company building – it’s any developer’s fantasy to get a hold of structures of this nature. Jefferson might be a sprawling street, but there are some solid bones that should be considered anchor points. Hopefully, we will see the full potential of Jefferson realized in years to come.