Douglas Jemal is all over the place. Literally. News broke today that the DC-based developer has put the Curtiss Malt House at 1100 Niagara Street under contract with plans to incorporate it into a 50-unit apartment building. While Jemal has tackled redevelopment of downtown’s tallest building, Seneca One, and is starting work on one of downtown’s largest, the Statler, he has been snapping up underused properties throughout downtown and elsewhere stretching from the Old First Ward to Riverside and from the near East Side and Fruit Belt to the Elmwood Village. 1100 Niagara Street will be his first West Side project.
Built as the malt house of the Charles G. Curtiss Malting Co., the circa-1880 building originally housed the malting drums. It is especially noteworthy for the stepped front gable and extensive corbelling. The 42,300 sq.ft. structure is on a 0.96 acre parcel overlooking the Black Rock Channel and Niagara River on a stretch of Niagara Street that has seen significant developer interest in recent years.
Jemal expects to close on the purchase in June and is eyeing a $10 to $12 million project to renovate the building and add 50 market-rate apartments to the site.
The sale is likely bittersweet for current owner Giles Kavanagh. He purchased the property in 2012 and spent the last decade refining plans to redevelop the building. His plan would have included an events space, wine bar, gallery, and gathering area overlooking the river but he was not able to pull together the financing to make it happen. He will be passing the torch to Jemal who has an impressive adaptive reuse portfolio back in DC and a growing portfolio of projects locally.