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Barcalo Buffalo Living & Commerce

The Frizlen Group is embarking upon another impressive development, this time at 225 Louisiana Street, which is in the heart of the Old First Ward. Now that the construction loan has officially closed, the project, being led by The Frizlen Group president, Karl Frizlen, along with GC Michael Masters, President of BRD Construction, will officially get started, bringing with it more life and activity to an already burgeoning neighborhood.

The commercial space is aiming at light manufacturers, office tenants, perhaps a restaurant and local artists.

Construction on the (approximate) $35,000,000 Barcalo Living & Commerce development – a mixed-use, adaptive reuse – is anticipated to begin this month, with an anticipated completion is early 2023. The project will be both residential and commercial, with 116 apartments, 30,000 square feet of light commercial space, residential indoor parking, and amenity spaces. Amenities include a rooftop patio, bike and kayak storage, a dog-washing station, a fitness and work-out area, cafeteria, laundry facility as well as common leisure seating areas. This will be a significant addition to a historic waterfront neighborhood that is quickly becoming a very desirable place to live and work due to its proximity to the Buffalo River, Canalside, and (coming soon) The Riverline.

All spaces feature exposed brick and timber frame construction, high ceilings and many original features that stay in place.

“The building type offers considerable design flexibility and plenty of opportunity to highlight historic features in living and working spaces,” said Karl Frizlen, whose architectural firm designed the project. “The final product will be highly functional modern living and work spaces in a truly authentic setting.”

“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 Skylr Carrow, director of The Frizlen Group Management team, that will manage the property. 

“The historic tax credits and the property tax abatement will enable us to set rents within reach of households earning as low as 80% of the area median income without jeopardizing the financial viability of the project,” noted Michael Masters.

Frizlen added, “… 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 segment of renters.  We’ve had success with that formula in the past and we think it will work well in this neighborhood.”

As for the commercial spaces, Frizlen said that they have been in discussions with neighbors to identify the best possible scenarios. “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.”

There will also be a number of eco-green components baked into the project, such as solar panels, heat pumps, and all electric high efficiency appliances. The units will be an equal mix between one and two bedroom lofts with a few three bedroom apartments.

“Not only do those features reduce the building’s fossil fuel consumption, but also help reduce our tenants’ utility bills, which is a win-win all around,” said Pete Talty, project architect for the Frizlen Group.

The building itself – the former Barcalo complex – is ideally located within a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA). Lofty plans for the project began to percolate as long as four years ago, giving the team plenty of time to seek, and be approved to enter into New York’s brownfield cleanup program.

“Substantial funds will be expended to eliminate toxins from the historic manufacturing past,” said Masters. “The complex also falls within a newly created federal Qualified Opportunity Zone, enabling the development team to attract an investor that will benefit from that QOZ designation.”

Further economic partners include:

  • The project’s construction and permanent lender is Community Preservation Corp.
  • The historic tax credits have been syndicated to Chase Community Equity.
  • The brownfield bridge loan is being funded by local Five Star Bank.
  • The project has also received a brownfield redevelopment community grant from National Grid.

“This (National Grid) grant will substantially help to plug a hole in our budget and allow this project to move forward,” said grant consultant Richard Rogers from Urban Vantage.

If the name “Barcalo” sounds familiar, it’s due to one of the products that was manufactured at this site – “Barcalounger” recliners. From 1896 to 1917, eight buildings made up the Barcalo Manufacturing Company complex. The facility closed its doors in 1963, but the owners – the Sansone family – managed to keep the lights on (and the heat on) by filling it with a mix of light commercial and artist tenants.

Between 1896 and 1917, eight buildings made up the Barcalo Manufacturing Company complex – a mix of light commercial and artist tenants.

“They’ve been great stewards of the building,” said 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.”

“Tax credit attorney Jason Yots of Borrelli & Yots PLLC handled the acquisition and financing for the development team.

The deal was brokered by Paula Blanchard and Robert Culm of Hanna Commercial Real Estate.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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