Statler City will be getting some curb appeal. Three million dollars worth. Owner Mark Croce is proposing masonry repair, canopy repair and renovation, window repair, and storefront renovation and repair on the Niagara Square landmark’s first two levels.
Croce has already invested over $7 million into the interior of the building in order to get the lower levels into an event and wedding venue. He has also floated a proposal to expand the existing convention center across the street to incorporate portions of the Statler and properties north of it. In the meantime, he’s embarking on significant ground-level work to set the stage for future development of the building’s upper floors. He has been upfront since purchasing the property in 2011 that he wants and needs partners to completely redevelop the property and while he has talked to interested parties, he says he is waiting to find the best fit with the vision and finances to complete what is expected to be a $100 million + restoration.
After purchasing the property, Croce was awarded more than $5 million in state grants for exterior work at the Statler. The grant funding was tied to Croce investing his own money into the redevelopment effort. The first portion of that money was for masonry stabilization and roof work that’s been completed. Croce’s new proposed work will allow him to tap into additional state money.
Kideney Architects prepared plans for the restoration work. The Preservation Board will review the project at its meeting next Thursday. From Kideney’s substantial submission to the Board:
The exterior masonry on the Statler Towers consist of terracotta with various finishes and English bonded common face brick. The scope of the terra cotta repair is limited to the lower belt course (refer to elevations) along all facades and includes cleaning with water, mild detergent, and bristle brush, terra cotta patches, terra cotta coating, repointing, and selective glass-fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) replacement units where it has been determined a unit cannot be safely repaired or where areas of original terracotta are missing. Once repairs or replacements have been made, all will be coated in place to ensure a uniform appearance. There will not be significant portions of brick repair.
The simulated pink granite panels at the base of the building on the Delaware, Niagara Square, Genesee, Franklin, and Mohawk elevations of the building will be removed to expose the original terracotta finish below. Where areas of original terracotta have been removed, new GFRC units will be fabricated to match the existing dimensions, texture, and color of the original terracotta. During an exploratory demolition phase, it was discovered that portions of the original façade are relatively intact underneath the simulated pink granite. It is the design intent to recover as much of the original fabric as possible, and to replicate only what is needed to complete the exterior fabric.
The existing three original canopies on the Delaware, Genesee, and Mohawk elevations of the building have been extensively modified since their original construction and will be repaired and renovated. Repairs will include the removal of all existing cladding down to the structural frame and concrete deck in order to fully assess the structural condition of the canopies. Rehabilitation of the steel frames and the replication of original cladding and ornamentation are included in the scope of the renovation work.
Select windows along the second level will be repaired by removing abandoned pipe and other mechanical penetrations, replacing missing or broken glass and muntins. The majority of the existing wood frames along Delaware Ave, Niagara Square, and Genesee Street will be scraped, primed, and painted in place.
The existing 1960’s vintage stainless-steel storefront frames and glass will be removed and replaced with new thermally broken aluminum storefront that will be based upon existing suspected original storefronts along Genesee and Franklin Streets. Suspected original storefronts will be repaired in place where possible. See proposed elevations for details on rebuilt storefronts. Decorative cast iron cresting and fascia will be replicated in GFRC and added to all rebuilt and repaired storefronts. Cloth canopies will be added above select storefronts per historical photographs.