Back in July of 2019, a portion of the former Iroquois Brewery site changed hands. At the time, I don’t think that there were many people out there that realized that a small portion of the original brewery – not part of the aforementioned sale – even remained on the city’s East Side. The building that I am referring to is owned by Ellen Shareef of C&R Housing Inc., who, along with her husband, will be restoring the circa 1864 brewery building located at 230 Pratt Street. Incredibly, the Shareefs have owned the building for the last 30+ years.
Today, the Shareefs are in the process of converting the remaining building into a mixed use project that will one day be an anchor on the East Side. The 93,000 SF building has the potential to become a mix of apartments, restaurant, event hall, gym, and microbrewery.
In a video by East Side Avenues, Ellen Shareef credits the organization’s Community-Based Real Estate Development Training program for allowing the couple to pursue their dreams of further stabilizing the building and converting it into an urban destination. The program that she is referring to is a tuition-free program designed specifically for East Side commercial building owners.
The program is designed to build a community of citizen developers on the East Side of Buffalo by empowering community members with the skills and knowledge to successfully complete a project.
Moreover, Shareef credits the program for making resources available that were not previously marketed to small emerging businesses in the minority community.
At one point, the Iroquois Brewery was one of the largest, and most palatial, breweries in the city. Thankfully, we are finally seeing the salvation of a building that will one day proudly wave the flag for this legendary brewery. Until that time, it’s these types of marker-moving success stories that will help to build confidence in the East Side… one building at a time.
The Community-Based Real Estate Development Training program is part of New York State’s $65 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund and funded in collaboration with private and philanthropic organizations who created a pooled, $8 million East Side Collaborative Fund to support capacity building and to develop and implement programs like this.