By Jim Fink
A pair of Buffalo projects, each anchored by a residential component, received tax breaks to advance from the planning stage to construction.
The Erie County Industrial Development Agency directors, Wednesday morning, approved the incentive packages — one for the conversion of the late 1800s-era, former Jansen Brother Harness Shop location on Elm Street and the other, a century-old one-time headquarters for American Radiator Co. on Elmwood Avenue, just north of the SUNY Buffalo State campus.
Together, the projects represent a private sector-led investment that tops $14 million and brings a pair of buildings back to life.
The Jansen Brothers building, located at 173 Elm St., is being renovated by 9187 Group LLC, an Ellicott Development Co. affiliate.
Tom Fox, an Ellicott Development executive, said his company wants to take the long-vacant, 13,200-square-foot, four-story building and renovate it with a mix of office space and apartments. Ellicott Development will be investing at least $1.4 million on the project.
Service Collaborative of WNY Inc., a not-for-profit agency that represents WNY AmeriCorps and West Seneca Youth Bureau, has agreed to lease 3,500-square-feet on its first two floors for office and training space. The collaborative is relocating from Seneca Street.
Fox said the upper two floors will be renovated into five apartments.
“We view it as in-fill development for an under-utilized corner,” Fox said.
Karen Fiala, ECIDA assistant treasurer, said the project works well with other nearby developments in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus as well as along Elm Street.
“It fits in nicely,” Fiala said.
The ECIDA directors were equally receptive of plans by developer Rocco Termini to transform the circa 1903 era, onetime American Radiator Co. headquarters at 1807 Elmwood Avenue into the Arco Lofts.
Termini wants to use the bulk of the 47,600-square-foot building as the base for 38 market rate apartments while allocating 2,000-square-feet for commercial office space.
The Arco Lofts would serve as an economic development companion to the Distillery Lofts and Houk Lofts projects that Termini has developed in the same neighborhood.
“It’s about building critical mass,” he said.
Termini noted that 30 of the 46 apartments in the Distillery Lofts, located almost across Elmwood Avenue from the Arco Lofts, have been leased and the building doesn’t officially open until next month.
“We feel there is a real demand for apartments in that area,” Termini said.
Termini will be investing $12.4 million on the Arco Lofts project. The ECIDA incentives were critical to moving the project forward.
“If it wasn’t for the IDA, it appears this would be another empty building in Buffalo,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.