A two-building, mixed-use development for Jefferson Avenue in the Masten District was given a favorable review by the Planning Board yesterday, though formal action was not taken. Sinatra & Company Real Estate, Creative Structures Services, People Inc. and Bellamy Enterprises are teaming up on the $21 million project with Long Associates Architects providing the building designs and site plan coordination.
Each three-story building will contain a mix of affordable and market-rate residential units and commercial space, bringing residents and new businesses to the Jefferson Avenue corridor. They will be located on the west side of Jefferson Avenue, taking up two blocks, bounded on the South by Dodge Street and at the North by Northampton Street.
Both sites offer ample green space and opportunity for strengthened community ties through the integrated patios, allowing residents ample opportunity to interact with the neighborhood. Each building features a distinct look and feel in regards to shape and form, while being tied together through use of similar color schemes and materials.
Directly north to the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion, the contemporary buff brick façade of the south building contains details in a warm red paneling (above). The southernmost half of the building features retail space on the first floor.
The design relies on the randomly applied residential patios, which give each area of the building a unique feel, whilst maintaining a consistent design aesthetic. In addition, the ground-floor residential patios at the northern side of the building take advantage of the site’s natural slope, creating a buffer between the sidewalk and the patio floor.
The north building, in contrast, takes on a more traditional appearance, inspired by the main entry gates from the old War Memorial Stadium. This building opts for red brick with buff accent quoins, as well as metal paneling to break up the façade. Stressing order, the patios occur regularly between column arches for a symmetrical build-out. The commercial spaces take up the majority of the ground floor, with a center entry designated for the residential portion.
There will be a total of eighty-four one and two-bedroom apartment units. The apartments will be marketed as mixed-income units with tenant incomes ranging from $15,000 to approximately $75,000. Every unit will contain a balcony or patio.
The project will also include approximately 23,000 sq.ft. of flexible first floor commercial space.
“Our intention is not to bring in suburban stores but to provide space for locally-owned businesses that will provide an amenity to the building and community,” said Sinatra & Company Real Estate president Nick Sinatra.
“The development is mixed-use and mixed-income,” said David Pawlik, president of Creative Structures Services, Inc. “The area is ready for it. There have been other recently completed projects along Jefferson laying the groundwork for us. Our market analysis demonstrated a need for not only affordable, quality housing, but workforce housing. The site is close to the Medical Campus which is already driving housing demand in the area.”
There will be a community room with kitchenette at the main level of each building, centered at the rear courtyards which abut generous green space. Trash rooms with valet trash service, a staff office, onsite laundry facilities, and exercise rooms will also be provided at each building. Both buildings feature facade space for murals (below).
“The Buffalo Arts Commission is working with the community to design the murals,” said Pawlik.
The project received unanimous support from the Planning Board members saying it will “positively change the look of Jefferson Avenue” and a “poster child for future projects.” The Board could not take action to approve the project until it is reviewed by the Zoning Board however. Pawlik says the community has embraced the development as well.
“I see it as a catalyst to attract other investment into the neighborhood and along Jefferson Avenue,” said Sinatra. “It is big enough on a scale size to attract others and could be a game changer. It is important that this project has a good outcome because it could be a model for development elsewhere on the east side.”
Work on the project is expected to begin this summer with completion in mid-2018. CSS Construction will serve as general contractor.
“The Medical Campus is the biggest economic driver in Western New York right now,” said Sinatra. “New development can only go two ways- east or north. The city is hot right now, taxes are low, and it is a great time to be investing. There’s also one place with land available to build new. It’s the east side.”
“We are really excited about the positive impacts this will have on the community,” added Pawlik. “It’s a game-changer.”