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Big Reveal: Musical Suites

After tackling seven downtown reuse projects, and the just-finished Shea’s Seneca complex in South Buffalo, Schneider Development is turning its attention to the Elmwood Village. The developer is proposing to convert the Community Music School’s building at 415 Elmwood into residences and commercial space and construct an addition over the parking lot to its south.

The $5 million Musical Suites project will feature a total of 22 apartments and 1,500 sq.ft. of office space. All of the units will be one-bedroom, ranging in size from 700 to 900 sq.ft. The commercial space will be geared towards the professional office user that is already prevalent and proven to be a good fit on the 400 block of Elmwood.

Schneider paid $875,000 for the property in August. Community Music School will be anchoring Ellicott Development’s redevelopment of the Lutheran Church Home located on E. Delavan in the Hamlin Park neighborhood. They will be relocating in the spring.

The project’s name–Musical Suites–is a nod to the Community Music School’s long history at the building. Schneider Development also plans to incorporate musical motifs into the project design, like the musical notation that adorns the parking gate at the front of the new building.

Built around 1910, the Colonial Revival building at 415 Elmwood Ave. was acquired by the Community Music School in 1959 and served as their home for the past six decades. Prior to Community Music School’s ownership, 415 Elmwood  was an apartment building known as The Argyle. Much of the interior woodwork and architectural details from the original apartments remain and these historic elements will be restored wherever possible when most of the building is converted back to its original use. The existing historic structure will include 12 one-bedroom units and the ground floor office space.

A new three-story building would be built to the south with 10 one-bedroom units atop of the existing surface parking lot. The ground floor of the new building will remain parking, with ten covered spots underneath the building and eight uncovered spots in the rear. The two buildings will be linked together by a central glass walkway.

The new sister building complements the massing and design elements of the existing historic structure so as to create a cohesive front elevation. Together, the two structures will be consistent with the typology of the surrounding neighborhood at the southern border of the Elmwood Village.

“I tasked my architects to design this project in full compliance with the Green Code,” explained Schneider, who is also President of Schneider Architectural Services. “I told them to find a way to make it work at three stories and keep the design and the scale consistent with the neighborhood.”

Except for a small landscape buffer variance in the rear of the property, the project complies with the City of Buffalo’s Green Code according to Schneider.

Due to the project’s location on one of the city’s most vibrant avenues, the development team is working to incorporate Transit Oriented Development principles into the project’s program. This includes providing a substantial amount of covered bicycle parking, relying on shared car parking between daytime and evening users, and encouraging tenants to take advantage of the site’s strategic location in a dense urban area with its easy access to multi-modal transportation options, such as bus lines, a Reddy Bike Share, and the Summer-Best light-rail station.

To date, the development team has reached out to and met with a handful of surrounding neighbors, neighborhood groups, and local elected officials. “It’s a little bit of a change, but it’s been pretty well-received to-date,” said Matt Hartrich, VP of Development at Schneider Development. “We’ve strived to strike a good balance – between historic and new, between managing parking demands on the neighborhood and smart urban infill that supports multi-modal alternatives.”

“The Elmwood Village has a distinct historic fabric and we are making every effort to weave this project into that fabric,” said Schneider. “Even with the new building, we are taking cues from all the great architecture nearby.”

The development team is utilizing Federal and State Historic Tax Credits on the restoration of the historic structure, so the project work scope for both buildings will be reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office and National Parks Service. Schneider Development has an accomplished track record when it comes to historic preservation and adaptive reuse developments.

The 25,000 sq.ft. Musical Suites project will complement the already-in-motion transition of Elmwood’s 500 block after the recent departure of Children’s Hospital including a five-story building at the northeast corner of Elmwood and Bryant now under construction. Work on Muscial Suites is scheduled to begin in the spring with the project opening a year later in the spring of 2021. Schneider Construction Services will provide construction management services on the project.

Get Connected: Schneider Development, 716.923.7000

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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