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BUDC recommends allocations for downtown Buffalo projects

by chocieni
Wed, Jul 1st 2015 08:00 am


Buffalo Building Reuse Project.

The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. gave its first round of approvals needed to release the gap financing dollars being offered through the Buffalo Building Reuse Project designed to bring older buildings back to life. With the approval, all three loans will be reviewed by New York state underwriters and then returned to BUDC for a final and formal approval vote. That vote should come later this summer.

Combined the three projects represent $14.42 million in private-sector investment and will see 56 new, market-rate apartments developed along with other mixed-use space.

"In each case, we are talking about adaptive re-use," said Brandye Merriweather, BUDC vice president.

Under review:

• A recommended $750,000 allocation to Sinatra & Co.'s Phoenix Brewery Apartments project on Washington Street. Sinatra is renovating the 50,000-square-foot former Phoenix Brewery building, which dates back the late 1800s, into a structure anchored by 31 apartments along with some first floor retail.

A rooftop garden patio is also planned for the building.

The entire project carries a $7.67 million development price tag.

• Ellicott Development's 9274 Group Inc. affiliate is recommended to receive a $500,000 allocation that will help finance the $2.85 million project aimed at renovating the Our Lady of Lourdes church on Main Street into a 12-unit apartment complex. The 24,800-square-foot building will include 6,200-square-feet of first floor retail or office space, depending on demand.

Amy Judd's Alexandre Apartments LLC on Washington Street has been recommended to receive $750,000 for a conversion of the seven-story former Loew's Theatre Warehouse into 13 market rate apartments. Judd estimates the project will cost $3.9 million to complete.

Besides the apartments, first floor retail - perhaps a cafe, fitness center or hair salon is being considered for the building.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, BUDC chairman, praised all three projects.

"They are welcome additions," he said. "Each project represents another sign of confidence the private sector has in Buffalo."