The City has found a developer to tackle the reuse of an historic Fruit Belt structure. The Common Council on Tuesday will consider naming Kanaka Partners, LLC designated developer for the property located at 204 to 208 High Street. The parcels consist of two, 2 1/2 story masonry structures and two vacant lots at the corner of High and Maple streets just east of the Medical Campus.
Dr. Greg Daniels ‘ Kanaka Partners was selected after a Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued last fall. Kanaka’s plan calls for affordable housing, commercial space and covered parking. A second response sought to renovate the building into 6,200 sq.ft. of commercial space. Kanaka Partners’ proposal was determined to be the strongest of the two proposals received, meeting all of the evaluation criteria provided by the City in the RFP, and having a significant plan for community engagement throughout the entire project scope. Kanaka has offered a purchase price of $120,000. The developer’s main objective is to tie the Fruit Belt community to the Medical Campus.
Kanaka is wrapping up work on converting Elmwood Avenue’s Pierce Arrow complex into 105 loft apartments and a 100-seat restaurant. In March, Kanaka unveiled plans to reuse a former telephone switching center at the northeast corner of Howard and Jefferson Avenue as 33 apartments and commercial space.
According to the City, Kanaka will work in collaboration with Kaleida Health to build affordable housing for low-income employees at the High Street site. The proposal provides an opportunity for stable, modern housing for the staff of the Medical Campus and has committed to preserving as much of the existing historic structure as possible.
204 High Street is an Italianate circa-1870 brick building, one of the oldest in the Fruit Belt neighborhood. The property is listed as a City of Buffalo local landmark. The property had a long time use as the personal residence and medical practice of John Meidenbauer. In the late 1930s it was sold to Lyle Morgan, another doctor, who also utilized it for his personal residence and practice. The building was last used in 1979 as a doctor’s office and the City took ownership around 2005 after Morgan’s son was unable to pay the taxes for the property.
The High Street site is northeast of the recently-approved The Lawrence complex. The 133-unit apartment building will front both Michigan Avenue and Maple Street. It received Zoning Board and Planning Board approvals after a number of design changes won over neighborhood residents that had been opposed to the project.