‘Bethune Lofts’ Project Coming Into Focus

Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation’s plan for 85 lofts in the vacant Bethune Hall at 2915 Main Street has taken two steps forward.  The Buffalo Preservation Board signed-off on the adaptive reuse project last week and the Planning Board certified the environmental document yesterday.  The Planning Board is expected to give its final blessing to the project on March 15 allowing construction to begin in the spring.

The four-story building, to be renamed Bethune Lofts, is located next to Bennett High School and close to the LaSalle light rail station.  Designs are in the preliminary stage, but the project calls for all new windows, exterior masonry repair and cleaning, a new entrance at the rear of the property (renderings), a fitness facility and parking for 148 cars.  Residences will have 12 to 14 foot ceilings. 

09069_View_1.jpgCarmina Wood Morris is designing the $8.5 million project and plans are to have the building achieve a “silver or better” LEED certification.  Ciminelli will be seeking state and federal historic tax credits as part of the project’s financing.

bethune22.jpgThe structure was designed and built by Lockwood, Green & Company in 1915 for the Buffalo Meter Company, a manufacturer of liquid meters.  In 1971, the State of New York acquired the building from The Singer Company, as successor to Buffalo Meter Company, and after a rehabilitation in 1973, the SUNY School of Architecture and Design moved into the building and renamed it Bethune Hall (named after Louise Blanchard Bethune, architect of the Lafayette Hotel, the first professional woman architect in the United States).  Classes ceased at the building in 1993 and SUNY had been using it for storage prior to selling it.

Ciminelli is purchasing the property from Brooklyn-based owner Meyer Landau.  Landau purchased the site for $384,000 in April 2006 through an auction conducted by the State.  At the time of purchase, Landau announced plans to convert the building into apartments, artists’ studios and offices but later switched gears and put the property up for sale. 

LP Ciminelli will serve as construction manager.  A January 2012 completion date is anticipated.

Get Connected: Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation, 716.631.8000

About the author  ⁄ Thomas_Dooney

20 comments
UrbanBuffalonian
UrbanBuffalonian

Kudos to the owners, developers, architects and engineers creating, investing and facilitating this project. Result = Construction Jobs, Staff Jobs, Architectural Service, Engineering Services, Mechanical Service, Civil Service, Legal Service, Real Estate Service, Advertisement services......ect. Can you imagine exactly how many people this project could reach from beginning to end.

UrbanBuffalonian
UrbanBuffalonian

Where are you getting your figure of 22 parking spaces. This project calls for 85 lofts, the city charter ARTICLE XIX. Off-Street Parking and Loading § 511-96 (a). Space requirement is one per dwelling plus and required guest parking and staff parking add any other uses in the building this number could be much larger. I totally support a much lower number, the proposed Green Code could help move this required paving, parking number decrees to a more realistic number.

UrbanBuffalonian
UrbanBuffalonian

Be better then the designer, do the right thing and make a formal recommendation on exact spices and location. You will be more effective and respected by not using demeaning comments and name calling.

JohnMarko
JohnMarko

The Architecture Department was the MAIN occupier of the building when it was first created as a separate Department back in the 70's.

I choose not to go there becausee it wasn't accredited at first for many years and it was so new.

The Art Department came second...

STEEL
STEEL

Worked there back in the day

townline
townline

In Angola it does. Hasn't been on main street in probably at least 10 years.

DTK2OD
DTK2OD

Does Mickey Rats still exist?

Chris
Chris

This isn't new york city anyone that has an apartment is going to have a car. Two people might share one car if they both commute on the train to work, but that will probably be the best you are going to get.

Ivan Putski
Ivan Putski

finally a loft idea that makes sense..the right location for so many reasons... Mickey Rats, McCarthy Park, metro rail, Aldi's and Famous Doughnuts are just a few of the perks of living around this area

JSmith
JSmith

Building 1.75 parking spaces per residential unit seems like a lot for a transit station area zoning district. The existing zoning code only requires 22 spaces for this many units, and I would expect the new Green Code will lower the minimum and perhaps even place a maximum for areas like this.

LaSalle Station represents a substantial public investment and it seems a shame not to encourage its use.

STEEL
STEEL

Except that lame landscape place holders like the rendering shows is exactly what gets built in most projects these days. The problem is that architects use plants as space fillers instead of space makers these days.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

This is really a great project, and hats off to all involved in putting it together. On the landscaping, though, I'm hoping that what we see here is Sketchup placeholder -- a step up from blank space in the rendering with a note "insert landscaping here" -- and that some really great Green Infrastructure will be forthcoming--? Even my admitted amateur eye sees opportunities for some truly great (and even award-winning) landscape architecture at this site, and I hope that further refinement of their plans will go great lengths in that direction.

Jesse
Jesse

Who's the dummy responsible for planting conifers within a foot of the wall of the building? That was bright.

jjcefa
jjcefa

Great Project....but can we find out if we can get new streets and lights laid out for both Chippewa and Allen street...New pavement, sidewalks and lighting would improve both streets completely

sin|ill
sin|ill

in the renderings, the lot is just off-screen to the right. or was that sarcasm?

hamp
hamp

The UB architecture program was definitely in this building during the late 1970's. But I don't know when it moved to Hayes.

LI2Northpark
LI2Northpark

This is excellent. Right near the rail station which makes it desirable for anyone working downtown and also right near the East end of Hertel and Shoshone Park. It would be nice to see this area reworked and enjoyed more. Excellent news.

bobbycat
bobbycat

I don't see the gated parking lot in the rendering.

polar bear
polar bear

A little fact that never gets mentioned is that the Art Department at U B occupied this space until a new building was built on the North Campus. I studied there in the early 80's and if they closed it in 1993...the Art Department would have been around for ten years or more. I never heard of the architectural department being in this building...but I guess its possible. At that time they were in Hayes Hall on the South Campus and I think they might still be there today.

You can't see it from any exterior pictures or from many points at ground level but there is a wonderful space on the rooftop that is completely surrounded by glass windows. It was a perfect space for artiest to do work and it has the most beautiful views of the surrounding neighborhood and downtown in the distance. It was great for watching snow storms or thunder storms and nightly sun sets. Man I'm getting old!

The interior space is huge. The ceilings are 14 feet on all floors and as seen by the exterior, light comes in at all angles. There was an art gallery on the second floor with student openings on a regular bases.

This is a wonderful place and I'm very happy to learn that its being renovated shortly.

Pb.

impressingagent
impressingagent

what ever happened to the gates circle condo project?

some real eye candy

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