Karl Frizlen and Jason Yots have sent along details on their proposed reuse of the Barcalo Manufacturing Complex in the Old First Ward. The $25 million project would include market-rate apartments and commercial spaces aimed at light manufacturers, artisan makers, neighborhood retailers and local artists.
The multi-story industrial complex contains about 175,000 square feet of developable space and features sturdy brick construction, high ceilings and many original features. The building is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, and the developers plan to tap federal and state historic tax credits to help finance their adaptive reuse. Buffalo-based Preservation Studios has been retained to qualify the building for historic tax credits.
“We are attracted to this building because of its location and its development potential. We will attempt to enhance the neighborhood based on community input we receive,“ noted Karl Frizlen, who also is the project architect, “The building design will retain and showcase existing historic features and will incorporate energy efficient and environmentally friendly strategies. The final product will be highly functional modern living and work space in a truly authentic setting.”
If approved, the project will add about 80 to 90 apartments to a neighborhood that has seen recent growth with new housing developments along the nearby Buffalo River.
For rental housing, we see a ‘best of both worlds’ opportunity: easy access to commercial areas such as downtown and Larkinville, and close proximity to natural amenities like Father Conway Park, the Buffalo River and the future DL&W ‘high line’ trail,” said Jason Frizlen, a principal of The Frizlen Group Property Management, which will lease and manage the project. The project’s amenities will reflect that urban-outdoor blend, such as a rooftop patio with a view of grain elevators, indoor parking, bike and kayak storage and a dog-washing station. “All of our projects are dog-friendly,” Jason Frizlen said, “and with 14-acre Father Conway Park across the street, tenants and their dogs will have room to stretch their legs.”
Regarding the apartment rents, Jason Yots noted: “The historic tax credits and the property tax abatement hopefully will enable us to set rents within reach of households earning as low as 80 percent of the area median income without jeopardizing the financial viability of the project. With all of our projects, our goal is to fit into the neighborhoods that we’re entering while offering quality housing opportunities to the broadest range of renters. We’ve had success with that formula in the past and we are convinced it will work well in this neighborhood.”
As for the commercial space in the building, Jason Frizlen indicated that the developers have been talking with neighbors to determine uses that will be both commercially viable and valuable to local residents. “We’re open-minded about the commercial space, and we want it to include a mix of uses that both existing and new neighbors will support and enjoy,“ said Karl Frizlen.
The project also will include several “green” components in the project, including geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels and high efficiency appliances. “Not only do those features reduce the building’s fossil fuel consumption, they also help reduce our tenants’ utility bills, which is a good thing all around,” said Jason Frizlen.
The Barcalo complex is located in New York Environmental Zone (also known as an EN-Zone) and adjacent to a New York Brownfield Opportunity Area, and the developers will seek entry into the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, if testing reveals that the property is contaminated. The development team expects to seek local approvals in early spring to enable them to acquire the property and start construction this year. The project is slated to open in late 2020 or early 2021.
Between 1896 and 1917, eight buildings were constructed as part of the Barcalo Manufacturing Company complex. Barcalo featured diverse product lines, including metal furniture, mattresses, box springs, hand tools, automobile parts, airplane plates and its now famous “Barcalounger” recliners. Barcalo ceased operations at that location in 1963. The complex has been owned for the last few decades by the Sansone family, which has maintained the sprawling facility while managing a mix of light commercial and artist tenants. “They’ve been great stewards of the building,” said Karl Frizlen, “We’re thrilled that they trust us to assume that role and to prepare this historic building for its next 100-plus years of life.”
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