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Chandler Street Getting Third Project

Karl Frizlen and Jason Yots are following Rocco Termini to Chandler Street in Black Rock. Frizlen is seeking a rezoning of 27 and 37 Chandler Street to allow a residential conversion of the buildings. Both are owned by Henry Sontag, Jr. Forty-one apartments, office space, and 65 parking spaces are planned for the properties.  Frizlen and Yots are also teaming up to convert a freight house at nearby 68 Tonawanda Street into 37 apartments.

27 Chandler is three-stories and 24,640 sq.ft. of space while neighboring 37 Chandler is 12,760 sq.ft. spread across two stories. The parcels extend to Grote Street and have both M1 and R2 zoning.  27 Chandler was constructed in 1901 as the Jewett Refrigerator Factory and 37 Chandler was built a year later by The Double Brass Cornice Brake Company.

“The Chandler Street factories and the Tonawanda Street train depot share two important attributes: both are in Black Rock and along the Belt Line Railroad,” said Jason Yots, President of Common Bond Real Estate and Preservation Studios, the historic preservation consulting firm that will qualify the buildings for federal and New York historic tax credits.

“Black Rock is one of the oldest and most historically significant neighborhoods in Buffalo, and the Buffalo Belt Line Railroad once was the commercial spine of the city,” notes Yots, “Investing in Black Rock and along the Belt Line aligns well with our business model of reinvesting in underserved historic neighborhoods.”

While their project on Tonawanda Street will feature large, lofted two-bedroom townhouse-style apartments, the Chandler Street apartments will be more economical and will include a mix of affordable one-bedroom “micro” apartments.

“We’re currently planning about twenty one-bedrooms and seventeen two-bedrooms,” said Frizlen, whose architecture firm The Frizlen Group will act as project architect, “These will be efficient and affordable units that will be price-accessible for students and entry-level workers.”

In addition to the 37 apartments, the project will include an office suite along the northern façade of the buildings that will house multiple businesses.  “We’re currently searching for a dynamic mix of office tenants that will appreciate a cooperative work environment,” indicated Yots.


Further east on Chandler, Rocco Termini is proposing to redevelop the Linde Air Manufacturing complex at 155 Chandler Street into 80,000 sq.ft. of commercial incubator space and potentially ten apartments (rendering, above left). Across the street, the four-story building at 166 Chandler would also be commercial space (above right).

The Zoning Board of Appeals will consider the land use change at its December 21 meeting.  Frizlen and Yots estimate a total project cost of $5.2 million and construction is expected to begin mid-2017.

Get Connected: Frizlen Group/Buffalofts, 716.381.9838

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • Bringing back Buffalo


  • jld5199

    …and where will 65 vehicles, enter or exit?
    There is an 8ft fence with barb wire sorrounding the rear yard where parking will be supported. Grote street is already too congested, prohibited semi’s frequently go to and from Weatherpanel, instead of Chandler, many use Grote St as a cut thru from Military to Elmwood , school buses’ frequently congest traffic picking up and dropping off students, many have difficulty turning onto Grote from from narrow one way streets feeder streets, Peter, Howell, Germain. The local streets cannot support more vehicle traffic now.If Chandler is the exclusive entrance / exit, eventually it too will be non supported in the future, with development traffic , Termini’s lofts, Weatherpanel truck traffic and potential future development that may be proposed with the availability of all the vacant land along the railroad line on Chandler. Keep the congestion on Chandler, which is where the traffic belongs. Too much density traffic for Grote st .Perhaps Frizlen should have been proactive and asked to have a neighborhood meeting with his proposals…I know were not EV or Allentown, but we hould be given the same consideration!

    • runner68

      Congestion? Please just stop talking. Density on Grote Street…delusional.

      • jld5199

        Where’s traffic study, forward planning , communication with adjoining and area homeowners?
        Try going down Grote st with garbage trucks on Fridays, school bus traffic daily, and idiots speeding down the street like a raceway..,, maybe your the one that should stop talking ..and pull your head out

        • Bringing back Buffalo

          Too much traffic, lololololololol!

        • Wise Profit

          Wow you must be the only street in all of Buffalo that has garbage trucks, school buses and speeding cars traveling down it on a regular basis.

      • LJ Cooper

        Actually, jld5199 isn’t wrong, or delusional. If you actually lived over here, and tried to access that block of Grote St at any given time of the day/night, you might have a clue.
        Grote is very narrow, and is not able to handle the traffic it takes now. People try to avoid the slowing traffic at Grant and Amherst to head back north into Riverside fly up Bridgeman, Bush, and Peter to Grote.

        People who have lived here for awhile know the faster way out and around of the narrow streets here is to go one more street up to Chandler, because it is a wider street, way less traffic, and not as much of a blind spot to pull out onto Military Rd as Grote Street is.

        Perhaps if you lived anywhere near here, you might also know that the streets that connect and fill into Grote are all on angles, which creates horrible blind spots with parked cars. This happens on good weather days, during the winter, the streets look like a snowbound war zone. Sometimes there isn’t a road, as much as it is a worn path through the snow that resembles a street!

        You would also know that many houses on, and near Grote do not have driveways, or even a legal parking pad near them. If you come through during the day, it’s fairly easy to get down. Try it after 5 p.m. when people are coming home from work, or during the overnight hours in the winter, when even those with parking can’t get in their driveways because of narrow streets and lack of parking.

        • Michael Jarosz

          My parents owned a house on Grote between Howell and Peter in the 40s and 50s. I was born there. Eventually they sold it and moved to Kaisertown. Because there were no driveways, everyone had to park their huge 50s cars on the street but I don’t recall anyone complaining. Most blue collar family men took their cars to the factory parking lot during the day anyway and the streets were relatively clear. And this was before all the expressways presumably removed through-traffic from city streets
          Googling the house today, whoever owns it now has removed most of the front porch and tore up the front lawn to create an off street parking spot. Not pretty. But, with so much of the city decimated by population loss, it’s still there, apparently in decent shape. Across the street is a vacant lot that once was a bakery.
          Much of Black Rock was built before Henry Ford and there was no need for driveways. This is a reality in many historic districts. If you want to live in this neighborhood, the #3 bus is two blocks over on Military. We rode it often. But that was when people went downtown to shop.

        • Wise Profit

          Yeah Grote Street sounds like a whole different world when compared with the rest of Buffalo. Side streets are bad during the winter? Busy during after work commuter hours? Streets that come to angles?

          Yeah there are no other places like that in all of Buffalo. Sorry to hear of your plight, keep fighting the good fight.

          • BlackRockLifer

            Grote St is definitely one of the more challenging streets here in Black Rock (and we have many narrow old streets) I generally avoid it and use alternatives for the reasons noted by others here.

    • BeatHarvard


  • BlackRockLifer

    “Black Rock is one of the oldest and most historically significant neighborhoods in Buffalo” Jason Yots is stealing my thunder!
    It’s great to see so much interest in Black Rock, for those of us that held on through the tough times its very encouraging and rewarding to see another project that recognizes the great potential here.

  • RandyBall

    It would be better to have the entrances on Chandler Street rather than making the back of the building the front and entrances on the Grote Street side. The Councilman, and Planning and Zoning Boards will consider public comments, as will the developers. Put it in writing to them instead of in yelling form on social media.

  • RandyBall

    Here’s the proposed site plan

  • BlackRockLifer

    I think the neighborhood residents have some valid concerns and they should be heard and addressed. That said this project adds value in so many ways, not just property appreciation but the presence of more good neighbors with a stake and interest in the neighborhood is always a positive. More eyes on the street, more life on the street and more investment is good for all, any concerns about traffic or parking can be worked out.

  • Michelle Mazur

    I am disappointed that Buffalo RISING announced this project without any comment from the Black Rock Community. How is our neighborhood supposed to RISE with the rest of Buffalo if projects like this just bring more of the same? Every other part of the city has gained “luxury” apartments while we are getting shoe-boxed “economical” and micro/student apartments? It is NOT right.

    We are not wholly against this project, we only want the problems it will cause to be addressed. The complaints about traffic on Grote Street are valid. The cars are often side-swiped and many car mirrors have been lost or damaged; it is a regular event. The streets are often clogged. Just because it might be happening in other parts of the city doesn’t make it okay.

    Forty-one apartments is just plane GREEDY for those sized buildings and lots. The project’s zoning request already states that the space is “…deficient in yard and area requirements.”

    Student housing? How is that working out for the University district? My grandmother owned a beautiful home on Winspear and that whole neighborhood has gone down in value and reputation due to the crime, partying and noise. There are already many new student apartments on Grant and on Forest, as well as the Buffalo State campus.

    We already have more than our fair share of “economical” housing. Over the last several years we in Black Rock have absorbed a majority of lower income tenants while welcoming many new immigrants without much complaint; adding more will NOT serve to elevate our community it will only serve to keep our community down. The neighborhood is already unbalanced by too many tenants and not enough owners who reside in their homes.

    We invested in Black Rock over twenty years ago when we bought our house on Grote Street, when everyone was leaving, we invested, we believed in this area. Those living in the Black Rock Community are not second-class citizens because they chose to live here. We all CHOSE to live and work in Buffalo when everyone else fled and dammit we deserve consideration.

    What we need in Black Rock is for people to buy our houses and actually live in them; all those houses that were made into doubles/apartments to suck money out of them and our community, should be returned to single family homes and owned by families who want to invest in our community. That is what Buffalo truly needs to RISE again.

    • OldFirstWard

      I wouldn’t live there if the rent was $300 a month. As other areas change and gentrify, people get squeezed into these types of neighborhoods. That’s why the Grant St. area and especially streets around Hampshire St. are a slum. Big houses, doubles, triples, and absentee landlords.

      • Michelle Mazur

        You are right, “absentee landlords” are not owners who live in the houses. It makes all the difference when the balance is shifted downward to mostly tenants.

        That is why this project needs more balance, not more of what we already have. It will only drive out more homeowners.

        • BlackRockLifer

          Bingo, absentee landlords that don’t invest in their properties or screen their tenants are the greatest challenge we have in Black Rock. This project will invest 5.2 million dollars, one of the largest single investments in the area and be managed professionally, that’s the opposite of how absentee landlords operate. That kind of investment will attract more investment and homeowners, not drive them out.

      • BlackRockLifer

        You are correct about big houses divided into multiple apartments, doubles, triples and absentee landlords adding to decline. That problem hinders many parts of the city including parts of the West Side, Riverside and South Buffalo.
        The reason the Market Square area in Black Rock has remained fairly stable is because most of the homes are singles and owner occupied. There are also many more modest size homes that cannot be divided into multiple units. Our area is also consistently colored “green” on crime maps indicating “low crime”, another indicator of high rates of owner occupied housing.

    • BlackRockLifer

      I agree Black Rock has more low income housing than is healthy for the neighborhood but this project is not low income housing, they are market rate affordable, there is a big difference. These apartments will attract good tenants and the investment will encourage others to buy here, a win for all. There is much demand for decent affordable housing, too many good working people are priced out of the high end stuff and have nowhere else to go.
      I also agree the neighborhood residents should have a voice, the issues with traffic can and should be addressed. This kind of investment attracts more positive development and will improve the entire neighborhood, we need to embrace it and work through any issues.

  • jld5199

    If you look at both buildings, it,s clearly obvious there is both exiting entrance and exit on to Chandler St. Both 27 and 37 Chandler have their own separate entrances that can be utilized to address the inhabitants. Why Frizlen has proposed exclusive egress onto Grote st is definitely not in the best interest of the neighborhood residents and completely naive of the challenges that currently exist driving on Grote.
    As for student housing, the current enormous projects on both Forest Ave and Grant st will certainly handle the demand . Why cant Frizlen have some class..and take a page from Termini’s book of development and attract those professionals, meduim to high income tenants who desire loft living?
    The neighborhood is already saturated with , immigrants, low income housing, Sect 8 etc,
    Amherst st is starting to come alive, and needs those type of inhabitants with disposable income,to further the economic growth that is long overdue.