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Reuse Proposed for Two Buildings in Kensington Neighborhood

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.


Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • Vandra

    So what is planned for the rest of the site? It almost looks like it’s going to be a lot of parking for the couple of remaining buildings in front. It’s quite a large parcel.

  • Vandra

    Wait, Kensington Neighborhood? If that’s a defined place I doubt it’s this location. This is really between University and Central Park neighborhoods, but Kensington is fairly well south of here.

    • wcperspective

      The UB neighborhoods map calls it Kensington on this side of Main.

      • Bringing back Buffalo

        But it’s no where near the Kensington and if you asked 9 out of 10 people they’d say either University Heights or North Buffalo.

      • Matt Marcinkiewicz

        ‘buffalorr’ would have [had] something to add here…

        • Ron Reinhardt

          You’re so right Matt. Calling this the Kensington neighborhood is as incorrect as someone saying Ontario St. Is in the EV. Who cares what the UB neighborhood map says. They’re wrong too. Just more unauthentic Buffalonians trying to rebrand the city.

    • sbrof

      This is a weird area that you would probably get 5 different answers depending on who you talk to. Kensington is typically more to the east of here. The University Heights is north of “the tracks” Central Park is east of Main Street and Highland Park Fillmore Leroy is usually South of Amherst.. Pick one!?

      When I made this map, I couldn’t really lump it into any adjacent neighborhoods because architecturally it’s different than all adjacent neighborhoods. Grander homes than to the north and south, but simpler than to the east. It’s really all by itself. Then considering the barriers of the old Quarries to the south, the rail lines to the north and Main street to the west. It’s always been pretty isolated.,-78.8386718,14.5z/data=!4m2!6m1!1s1CQNJVTPPi5KfvpiMT5P5ghK6mRc

  • MatthewK

    Weird…Main and Hertel..could probably find several BRO articles about this side of Main being considered North Buffalo. Firm University district…not to pick though.
    Figured this would happen sooner or later.
    Whats the plan for the rest of the land here? Am I just naïve or does $30 mill sound like a lot of a bunch of demo’s and the 2 smaller-ish buildings facing Main St? Bare minimum sounds like things will be cleaned up…

    • Matt Marcinkiewicz

      I mentioned buffalorr above, but ‘Dan Blather’ also posted in the past about having grown up in ‘Kensington’ in like the fifties if not the sixties…so I wasn’t entirely surprised to see this headline, thanks to Buffalo Rising comment section contributions of the past, now invisible. I’ll serve as the oral historian around here if needed, haha

  • Bringing back Buffalo

    I drive past these building daily and have always thought, “I wonder who owns those?” I always knew it wouldn’t be long before something was done with the, especially after the Bethune Lofts were completed. There’s also been a lot of momentum in this area of town over the past 3-4 years. A lot more people on the street, a lot more college kids walking south of Winspear. I really think this part of town is a couple good coffee shops/restaurants away from being an up and coming/trendy neighborhood.

  • BeatHarvard

    That’s great, anything to get more residents with money in U Heights is a plus. It’s a bit unfortunate that the property is set so far back from the street, but that’s a minor complaint. Excited to see how this project turns out.

  • Craig

    The presenters at the preservation board meeting indicated that they hadn’t gotten very far into redevelopment plans. They didn’t want to spend money without knowing if they were going to be able to demo the compromised buildings. It certainly sounded like new construction would be a part of the plan. I guess we will have to wait and see.

  • BufChester

    For what it’s worth DF Fusion Investment are developers, owners, and managers of student housing, so there’s a hint at to what will be going there.

  • Urban Pioneer

    Too bad the nice brick font that faces Main will be demolished…Doesn’t sound like the best use of the property to me since only two buildings, one of which can hardly be seen, will remain.