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Opportunity Knocks: Commercial Space at the Black Rock Freight House

While the drumbeat of positive news in Black Rock has continued as of late, steady progress is being made at one of the area’s most anticipated re-development projects, the Black Rock Freight House. With construction on the $10 million adaptive reuse in full swing, the development team behind the Tonawanda Street property–a partnership between the Frizlen Group and Common Bond Real Estate–is working with Schneider Real Estate Services to land a retail tenant for the 2,800-square-foot commercial space.

“The owners are doing a wonderful job restoring the building’s rich historic character and making this corner of the City a destination,” said Schneider Real Estate Services president Matt Hartrich. “We’re looking to find them the right partner.”

The planned patio for the industrial-feeling commercial space will face south toward the intersection of upper Niagara Street and Tonawanda Street and will serve as the focal point to the rehabilitated historic structure. The Freight House dates back to 1906 and originally served as a New York Central rail station along the City of Buffalo’s famed Beltline up until the 1960s.

Schneider Real Estate Services is targeting tenants that can build on the neighborhood’s recent momentum (see the Fedder Lofts, Chandler Street, and the Black Rock/Riverside Alliance as a primer) while functioning as an amenity for residential tenants and the surrounding neighborhood, such as a restaurant, brewery, or gym. Hartrich notes that “The location and size are ideal for a tenant that can serve as both a neighborhood and destination-based business.” With substantial onsite parking available, the space can accommodate visitors from beyond the Black Rock/Riverside area and the owners aim to draw from the adjacent West Side and North Buffalo neighborhoods.

So far, the development team is encouraged by the strong interest shown by several businesses and is having preliminary talks with a few potential tenants. With the building’s 35 market-rate apartments providing a built-in customer base–and with another 85 market-rate units going in directly across the street at the recently-announced $23 million Fedder Lofts project–the site’s commercial potential is hard to miss. And the 122 residential units that will be within walking distance is just the start. With streetscape improvements coming to upper Niagara Street and Tonawanda Street, the site will benefit from substantially improved access for multi-modal transportation and a major aesthetic upgrade unparalleled to any other recent infrastructure/streetscape initiative.

Whatever tenant ends up snapping this space up, they will be getting in on the ground floor as Tonawanda Street takes shape.

Get Connected: Matt Hartrich, President – Schneider Real Estate Services (716) 599-0449