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Corner of Virginia Street and Prospect Avenue looking shipshape

The southwest corner of Virginia Street and Prospect Avenue is, at long last, coming into focus. A building that not many people ever thought would live to see the light of day, has miraculously been saved, and will soon be filled in a residential capacity. This is another big win for the lower West Side, thanks to the developer Buffalo Ridge, LLC (1651 E. 23rd Street, Brooklyn NY 11229).

The new windows are in, a paint job is complete, and signs have been posted signaling that the search for tenants is on.

This is such a significant project, considering the sheer size of the building, and its future role in the historic neighborhood. Fewer and fewer of these types of buildings remain that are in need of restoration (unless you count the East Side).

This building is located one block from Niagara Street, which is currently seeing its own version of a renaissance.


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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  • Me

    Why would they paint that beautiful brick?

    • Dylan Burns

      I believe that quite a bit of it was already painted red.

    • NorthBuf

      Back in the day painting brick exteriors and interior oak and walnut trim was considered in fashion believe it or not.

      • Michael Jarosz

        The White House exterior is built with stone, but it is painted white. Much of London (UK) is built from stone and brick, but was painted anyway.

        • Rand503

          The White House was painted white after the smoke damage on the stone from burning during the War of 1812.
          During renovation during the Truman Administration, paint was scrapped off and you could still still the burn marks.

      • Mr. B

        “Back in the day painting brick exteriors and interior oak and walnut trim was considered in fashion believe it or not.”

        Try telling OFW that . . .



    Some history of the building would have been nice.

    • JRyan154

      It used to be red.

      • KTBSN


      • KTBSN

        Very lazy “reporting”

  • WNYer

    Kudos to the developer for keeping the mature trees fronting the street. Easily could have cut those down to make way for the exterior work.

  • Todd Chapple

    Great preservation project, but should’ve kept the more natural red brick look, with the white bay windows!

    • Bringing back Buffalo

      I agree, there was really no reason to paint the building. It now looks like $hit.

  • BlackRockLifer

    Good save but the window replacements are just horrible. It’s one thing to square off round head windows but why did they add fillers above and in some cases below the sashes? (see third picture down).

    • Brian Eberle

      To me the windows you are referencing with the sashes below the window look like they would be fairly close to the floor. My guess is that it was done for purposes of meeting the building code and having a C/O issued. I did not search the City of Buffalo or NYS code specifically, but here is a quick excerpt regarding the International Code adopted by many jurisdictions.

      “The 2012 IBC and 2012 IRC require the bottom of openings created by operable windows to be a minimum height above the adjacent interior floor when they are 72 inches or more above the grade outside the window. In the 2012 IBC the required height of that window sill above the adjacent interior floor is 36 inches. In the 2012 IRC the required height is 24 inches.”


    • PaulBuffalo

      Agreed. The windows don’t suggest luxury apartments.

  • robert biniszkiewicz

    I love the painted brick.

    The reason all brick used to be painted was because earlier bricks were not as hard as modern bricks. The paint was a necessary element of protection for the surface of the brick.

    • OldFirstWard

      More fake assumptions. First, all brick was not painted. There are buildings built of brick that have stood for centuries all over the world. The Richardson Complex has brick buildings built from the 1870’s to 1890’s that were never painted.

  • grovercleveland

    I see that even when buildings are saved there are people here who cannot help themselves

  • Johnny Pizza

    All they need is bars on the windows and we have ourselves a new city prison.

  • bufforward

    They can’t fix the front door before advertising “luxury” apartments?

    • Matt Marcinkiewicz

      Hey now. Coming soon.


      I just drove by here on Saturday and kind of scoffed at the sign, myself…gentrification or no gentrification, I’m still not quite ready to read ‘luxury apartments’ being advertised in that particular location without scoffing once or thrice…the Brooklyn-based owners might be projecting increased gentrification onto Buffalo based on their outlier home base.

      • Rand503

        Perhaps they should advertise “middling apartments”

        • Matt Marcinkiewicz

          I’d rent one just to reward their refreshing honesty.

      • Todd Chapple

        Well that’s what liberal cities do, gentrifiy in select hot spots when it benefits them! Typical liberal development.

        • BufChester

          What do mean by that use of “liberal”? How would a “conservative” city do things differently? I am genuinely curious.

          • OldFirstWard

            Conservatives try to preserve, liberals love to demolish.

          • BufChester

            Can you offer any examples to support that? Aren’t the residents of liberal Elmwood Village against demolition? Isn’t conservative Carl Paladino one of Buffalo’s most prolific demolishers?

        • bburbs

          If you must use “liberal” then in place of “conservative”, use redneck. In that case the “redneck” gentrification would be only two junked out cars in the yard, one used sofa and a only one appliance (such as a washing machine ) on the front porch/yard)

          • HousingBubble2

            You should organize a march or protest downtown over the use of the word liberal. Throw some rocks and break some windows !

      • HousingBubble2

        Luxury in Buffalo means pay $1500/month for concrete floors, exposed brick and one parking spot!

  • Horus Kopecque


  • HousingBubble2

    Would rather have this project happen then not, however as discussed below, very generic building and does not appear to be luxury. Anyone know what the rent is here…..$1200-$2000/month like the rest of them. Is there parking? In terms of luxury, for average price of luxury apartment downtown
    ($1500/month) there are usually NO AMENITIES. This building has no pool, no real gym to speak of, nothing really within walking distance. Closest grocery store is Tops on niagara!

  • OldFirstWard

    Lower Prospect Ave. has some of the finest extant period homes in the City of Buffalo. It is certainly a good thing that the building was structurally preserved and saved from further deterioration and possible demolition, but make no mistake about it, this is a budget hack job and was quite obvious from day one.

    The building suffered from an aesthetics letdown the moment the contractor arrived on site. The job site never seemed secure, signage was minimal to non-existent and clearly unprofessional with notices stapled to scraps of plywood and leaned against a tree. During the demolition phase I observed workers without safety equipment ripping material out from the upper floors and tossing it out the window to the ground. There were no chutes visible at that time. The contractors then used low quality replacement windows with fillers. Exterior repairs were piecemeal, and as often the case, the contractors painted the exterior as a cheap alternative to a proper cleaning and to avoid repointing. I can’t imagine any grand entryways appearing on Prospect Ave. that would lead to these “luxury apartments.”

    Yes the building was saved, but this grand update looks like it stalled in the 1980’s during the heyday of the section 8 rental housing program. In many ways this project resembles that sham restoration of the apartment building on Niagara St. at Potomac Ave. which was also tragically painted, fitted with stock windows, gutted and now sits unfinished with broken windows.In reality, it was just a prep for a flip. How long before we see the for sale sign on this lower west side project?