It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about the ca.1880 brick Italianate at the corner of Rhode Island and 19th Street. But earlier today, the wood structure that concealed the first floor facade was removed, exposing a bang up job by West Side Restoration (WSR).
I spoke to Vincent ‘Vince’ Kuntz of WSR who told me that it took landing a tenant to wrap up work on the first floor commercial space. Evolation Yoga will be occupying the ground floor – the yoga studio will be moving from its current location on Elmwood near Delavan. The second floor of the building will feature two apartments, and the third floor will boast a 1700 sq.’, open floor plan, build-to-suit apartment. The building once housed a dance hall, according to Vince, thus the clear span on the top floor.
As you can see, there is a glass sidewalk vault to the left hand side of the building per fire code, and a similar one on the right side for access to the changing rooms in the basement which needed to be dug down to accommodate the needs of the tenants.
WSR also owns the vacant corner lot at 19th Street, which will temporarily be outfitted with bike racks, stamped concrete, etc. for aesthetic measures. Kuntz told me that the plan is to transition the corner into infill, for a build-to-suit project. So if anyone out there is looking to have a custom live-work, restaurant, bakery, retail space built in Buffalo, this is a prime lot located just down the street from Five Points. “Everyone assumed that I would be putting a parking lot at the corner,” said Vince [laughing]. “There’s no way I was going to use that for parking. It’s too important of a corner.”
The yoga studio owner has worked out an arrangement with the business across the street to utilize the parking area after business hours.
Apparently Kuntz had been looking at this building for 12 years, but the owner at that time wouldn’t sell. He eventually managed to acquire it in 2012, and since that time has been dealing with renovating the entire structure, which was in pretty rough shape. Recently, work has been underway on the apartments, which should be ready to go by September.
Eventually there will be four garage spaces in back, built where an old barn once stood (the foundation is still there). There’s also a ‘paper alley’ in back that is currently owned by The City. A number of bounding property owners have come together to split up the alley, and have done their due diligence to move the transaction forward.
This project is super exciting to see unfold. This was one of those West Side buildings that many people never thought was going to make it. Today is a great day for the neighborhood.
Evolation Yoga is anticipated to move into the space in a couple of weeks. At that point, signage and possible awning will be examined.
See Evolation Yoga on Facebook.