A Main Street warehouse complex is in line for a residential future. DF Fusion Investment Inc. is proposing to purchase and redevelop the Keystone Corp.-owned properties at 2929 and 2939 Main Street in what would be a $30 million investment. The site is adjacent to Ciminelli Real Estate Corp’s Bethune Lofts project and nearly across the street from the LaSalle Light Rail Station.
There are two buildings located on the smaller 2929 Main Street parcel: a 4,312 sq.ft. two-story office building in front and a 15,900 sq.ft., two-story warehouse behind it. A three-story, 14,400 sq.ft. building, a two-story 36,318 sq.ft. building, and a one-story, 9,330 sq.ft. building are located on the larger 2939 Main Street parcel.
Cleanup and redevelopment of the site will involve the demolition of four buildings on the north end of the site while reusing the two buildings adjacent to Bethune Lofts.
According to the application to the City, the site “has a long history of industrial uses, including metal plating operations since the 1960s, that have made the reuse and redevelopment of certain structures economically and physically unfeasible. Additionally, several of the structures have been severely compromised by the long history of industrial uses and are structurally unsuitable for redevelopment.”
The buildings on the site were used for a variety of industrial purposes according to the application. The Automatic Transportation Company was organized in 1906 to manufacture industrial lift trucks, tractors and locomotives for general industrial activities. The company had plants in Buffalo, Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Cleveland. The Buffalo plant located at 2929 and 2939 Main Street primarily manufactured battery operated baggage trucks and later in 1921 a small two-seater electric automobile. The original buildings dating back to 1909 appear to be designed by George Metzger (106th Armory, Schools 44 and 13, buildings of the University of Buffalo, the Federal Building, Children’s Hospital).
After being acquired by the Walker Vehicle Company in 1927, both companies were out of business and all buildings on the site had changed ownership by 1935. Buildings 3 and 5 were also believed to be used for the manufacturing of gasoline pumps. The original use is believed to be the manufacturing of gasoline pumps by Martin Schwartz Inc.
Martin Schwartz Inc. started in Buffalo in 1922, historic Sanborn maps show an adjacent structure for the first time in 1935. Martin Schwartz is believed to have left this location in 1939 when it relocated to Salisbury MD.
McDougall Butler Co. Inc. which is a paint manufacturing company, owned the property at the time of the 1950 Sanborn maps.
Photographs from 1972 show that National Finishing Corporation was the anchor tenant, which is a sister company of Marlette National Corporation, who eventually leased the property to the current owner Keystone Corp, which became an initial tenant in 1985 and later purchased the property 1991.
The Preservation Board signed-off on the demolitions at its meeting yesterday. Plans for the conversion of the remaining two buildings are being finalized and are expected to undergo City review next year.