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Construction Watch: Roosevelt Square Trio

Three once-forlorn buildings fronting Roosevelt Square are now something to behold. Some finishing touches have been put on the ground floor facades on the three highly visible buildings, nearly completing a pair of projects to bring them back to life.

The former Texas Red Hots at 5-7 Genesee Street has three new apartments and a restaurant tenant signed for the first floor. Architect Steve Carmina worked with Roger Trettel, a pioneering downtown developer with other properties on the 500 block; Steven A. Carmina, an accountant; and Joe Picone, owner of Bison Electrical Services, on the project. St. Laurence Restoration Co. was construction manager for the work that was designed by Carmina Wood Morris.

Two, large two-story units, one with 1,350 sq.ft. and the other with 1,650 sq.ft., occupy the upper floors along with a one-bedroom, single-level unit with 745 sq.ft. A restaurant might be opening on the first floor. More on that at a later date.

At 9 Genesee Street, Architect Steve Carmina and his wife Brenda purchased the 4,000 sq.ft., circa-1884 commercial building in 2013 and moved into the top three floors a year later. Just Fries recently moved from the ground floor space to nearby 523 Main Street.

These three buildings exemplify how far downtown has come in recent years.

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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  • Michael DiPasquale

    Looks great!

  • David Pastor

    Amazing !

  • Ra Cha Cha

    It’s been a great part of my experience in Buffalo to have been able to watch the amazing transformation of the 500 Block from the “before” shown in this article to the present. Great work by Steve Carmina, Roger Trettel, Don Warfe, Brownteeth, and all!

    That said, I haven’t forgotten the great involvement there by Mark Kirsch, Mark Schroeder (not the comptroller one), and Erica Eichelkraut. Here are a couple of links for anyone who wants to take a little detour down memory lane:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20111029160851/http://www.buffalorising.com:80/2011/10/a-leap-of-art-in-the-500-block.html

    https://www.buffalorising.com/2017/06/taking-cowork-buffalo-for-a-test-drive/

    The 500 Block has provided lots of great opportunities for lots of great folks to participate in the revitalization of downtown!

  • Ra Cha Cha

    Also: as bad as that “before” picture looks, when I first moved to Buffalo I could still get a “Garbage Plate” at Texas Red Hots. (Of course, as we all know, the only authentic Garbage Plate is sold at Nick Tahou’s in Rochester.)

    We need a Garbage Plate joint downtown, for all the Rochester ex-pats, and for the Buffalonians who haven’t yet faced this gritty, authentic culinary experience.

    Please help!

    • S.L.Hawks

      Let Rochester stay in Rochester, please.

  • BeatHarvard

    I almost didn’t believe the before and after photos, that’s like a brand new building. Great stuff.

  • OldFirstWard

    These small 19th century brick buildings are always the most difficult to save and preserve in downtown cities all over America and Steve Carmina managed to do just that. With a rush to fill skylines with vertical masses, it’s humbling to see such relics from the past maintain a permanent place in the busy cityscape.

    From an observation point of view, the brickwork on building 7 is just magnificent. Building 5 on the other hand, has mismatched bricks (solid color?) on the first floor and part of center window on the second which is curious given the attention to detail. I love the wood doors on Building 7 and 9 and would definitely refinish and restore them with a clear finish. All three storefronts need changeable signage just below the first floor windows for the businesses and as a belt to delineate the separation of the spaces. I would love to see accent lighting on the facades highlighting the buildings and possibly some retractable awnings with seasonal sidewalks tables in front.

    • BlackRockLifer

      The mismatched bricks are not a big deal, actually quite common in buildings that are 150+ years old.

  • Nick

    Lets all sit and digest for a moment that the third building would be considered oppressively tall in the Elmwood Village….. So sad.

    • S.L.Hawks

      Except that it’s NOT in the Elmwood Village, has nothing to do with the Elmwood Village, and isn’t actually tall at all. So sadly stupid.

  • breckenridge

    I frequent this area on lunch and after work – what a transformation. Had dinner at Raclette’s on the corner for the first time a few weeks back, could hardly believe how far this corner has come in just a few years. Hopefully this momentum spreads southward to the 400 block of Main St. soon – a block sorely in need of cleaning up.

  • BlackRockLifer

    Great to see these early row houses restored, up until the late 70’s there were many of these brick buildings with parapet walls in the Elm-Oak corridor. There were also many just east of Michigan Ave. and even a few scattered examples here in Black Rock and on the Lower West Side. Most were Federal style transitioning to Greek Revival. I don’t know of any other restorations of the remaining survivors but hopefully Termini will restore 68 Sycamore.