Adding to the momentum behind Niagara Street’s revitalization, Bill Breeser is preparing to start renovation work at 1225 Niagara. A 2,000 sq.ft. restaurant and three residential units are planned for the three-story building. The project will be presented to the Planning Board next Tuesday.
A previous plan was given the thumbs up by the Board in 2014 but the approval expired before Breeser obtained financing for the project. An addition on the lot north of the building is possible but not part of this phase of work. Breeser is talking to potential restaurant tenants but has not struck a deal yet.
The project was awarded $282,500 in 2015 under the Buffalo Main Street Initiative that focuses on revitalization of neighborhood commercial districts. Funding is through the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and administered by the Old First Ward Community Association.
1225 Niagara Street functioned as a grocery and meat market with boarding rooms above. The following is from the National Register District Inventory Forms prepared to create the Upper Black Rock Historic Preservation District. It was prepared by Carmina Wood Morris and Kerry Traynor of kta preservation specialists.
The three-story Italianate commercial storefront located at the northeast corner of Breckenridge and Niagara Streets was constructed ca. 1877. John Bowers is noted in the city directory as having a grocery and meat market in the retail space and living in one of the apartments above. In 1905 Emory I Smith had taken over the business that he maintained until 1914 when Edward E. Boylan opened his own grocery store at 1225 Niagara Street. By 1950 the storefront was a restaurant.
The three-bay, three story brick building features classical Italianate detailing. The storefront retains its original parte defined by cast iron columns and pilasters. The windows at the second floor feature masonry arches with keystone, while a segmental arch heads the windows on the third floor. The original one over one double hung sash windows remain extant on the third floor. The broad overhanging eaves, detailed with brackets, turns the corner from Niagara Street to Breckenridge Street.
A projecting rectangular bay window is located on the second floor at the second bay in from Niagara Street. The windows, with segmental heads, are functionally located, relative to plan. There are no windows on the north elevation since a building was historically located in the adjacent lot.
A groundbreaking for the project is planned for October 20. Redevelopment plans were prepared by Carmina Wood Morris.