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Construction Watch: Bell Tower Lofts

The exterior of “Bell Tower Lofts” at the corner of Colvin and Tacoma avenues is nearly complete. Exterior features still to come on the three-story building include HardieBoard siding, metal awnings over the doorways, French balcony railings, landscaping, and cornice paint.

The new building with two wings surrounds the remaining steeple of the North Park Baptist Church that was demolished in 2013. The demolition contractor, Sam DeFranks, purchased the property and is developing the residential project.

Plans call for 15 one-bedroom apartments with 820 to 921 sq.ft. of living space and 10 two-bedroom units ranging from 852 to 1,143 sq.ft. There will also be a two-story, three-bedroom unit at the Colvin end of the complex with 1,500 sq.ft. of space.

The church was damaged by a three-alarm arson fire in April 2012. The church had been vacant for a number of years after the owner, the Korean United Methodist Church, vacated the property. Despite a scramble by preservationists and even at least one developer interested in reusing the church complex, it was demolished in early 2013 with just the steeple saved.

David Sutton is project architect.

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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  • Ian

    What a great improvement to the area. Vacant lots are becoming scarce in that area, quite a great situation for the community. Nowhere to go but up!

  • Buffalo Resurrection

    I hate to voice yet another negative comment but wouldn’t you think there would have been an attempt to match the new brick with the brick on the bell tower? The contrast, at least in these photographs, is somewhat out-of-synch.

    • Flyguy2pt0

      Would have certainly connected the project together thats for sure marrying the old and new into a cohesive package.

    • Yeah I’m not a complainer either, but even the most laymen of us can notice that. It’s like 2 separate buildings.

    • mightyNiagara

      if but a similar color but contrasts better were used. oh well.

  • norwood

    That looks completely terrible. Why keep the tower if you do not plan match the new brick with the old. I guess the red brick from the 90’s was on the clearance rack and it was too tempting.

    • armyof100clowns

      It’s great the tower was saved and the lot now has purpose again, but I agree, the use of differing materials, in this case, does not enhance the project (actually, it detracts from it significantly). Also, I would have hoped that the architects would have replicated the design details of the tower, or, at the very least, attempted to use a contrasting design that complimented and played off the tower. Instead, this looks like someone was building these pedestrian apartments with Legos and said, “Damn, that’s boring! What can I do to spice this up? Oh, I got it! Let’s jam a Lord of the Rings tower on top! Yeah-yeah . . . everything is awesome!”

      . . . in the end though, that’s a minor nit to be picked. I wish the developer and this project the best of luck and I am rooting for their success.

    • lol

    • mightyNiagara

      in case any one person has a problem with management, they can wait for their arrival in the bell tower

  • Johnny Pizza

    This project is not approved by the Design Gestapo of BRO.

    • UrbanLove

      Aww…that must really hurt you. You going to be ok?

      • Johnny Pizza

        I could throw a stone from my house and hit this tower. No I don’t care if the color of bricks is different or that you, among others, take issue with the difference in color.

  • greenca

    I agree with the color of the brick comments. It would have been better to match the brick on the building to the tower’s brick. The OCD side of me also wonders why the tower is about two feet off center to the main entrance.

    However, all in all it’s a big plus for the neighborhood.

    • BuffaloFenian

      Thank you for ruining my day by pointing out the tower placement…..jerk

  • Randy503

    Um, it isn’t a “loft” when it’s so close to the ground.

    • Captain Picard

      As the first-ever ground-floor lofts in Buffalo, The Elk Terminal would like a word with you.

    • Josh Robinson

      They use the term “loft” as more of a marketing ploy than an accurate descriptor these days.

  • Ivan Putski Jr

    this hodge podge building style belongs in post war East Berlin. will there be a parking lot too? can’t really tell from the design. since most people in the city commute via bicycle or public transportation it probably doesn’t have to be that big.

    • BuffaloFenian

      Most people in the city commute via bicycle or public transportation?

      • Matt Gracie

        Yes, the traffic jam I see every morning on Parkside is just a hallucination.

    • BeatHarvard

      Most people in the city commute via car… wtf are you talking about?

      • Ivan Putski Jr

        i would like to see you back the bold statement up with some statistics

        • eagercolin

          A: “The moon is made of green cheese.”
          B: “No it isn’t.”
          A: “Prove it!”

  • 300miles

    Looks exactly like the rendering.

  • Mr. B

    People complaining here about the brick on the lofts not matching the color of the brick on the bell tower, remind me of David Steele whining about the “spindly” trees planted around the Jackson Federal Courthouse.

    Trees grow.
    Brick weathers.


  • BuffaLife

    “I wish someone would do something about that eyesore on the corner of Colvin and Tacoma. It should be a crime to let that land sit vacant.

    Hey, they’re doing something!

    Oh, the brick doesn’t appeal to me. Dumb project.”

  • Captain Picard

    I can assure all of you nitpickers that the residents of North Buffalo couldn’t care less about the contrasting brick colors. We are very pleased and encouraged by this development project. More density, successful infill, no more vacant shovel-ready site. Win-win-win-win.

  • Johnny Pizza
    • Vandra

      Which is why the base of the addition matches the marble of the original. To tie them together.

      • robert biniszkiewicz

        Actually, I think the AK addition is outstanding. That contrast doesn’t offend me at all. But I tend to agree with those criticizing the church tower/apartment mismatch.

    • G Orty

      That’s a pretty broad generalization more telling of close-mindedness than a real understanding of design solutions. I think you picked the worst photo to support your point, too LOL!