An historic building located at a busy gateway to downtown has a new owner with plans to give it a much needed facelift and a new use. Today Roger Trettel purchased 133-135 S. Division Street located at the southeast corner of S. Division and Elm streets across from the E.C.C. Flickinger Athletic Center and Erie County Public Safety Center.
The five-story, 23,000 sq.ft. Gutman Building was built in 1909 by Nathan Gutman and William Sperling for the manufacture of men’s and boy’s trousers. In 1910, Bates Jackson Printers and Engravers occupied a portion of the building. By 1919 Gutman and Sperling were out of business and primary businesses were Bates Jackson and, over time, an artisan jewelry collaborative. Gallagher elevator moved into ground floor in the 1940s.
Today, Gallagher and Bates Jackson still occupy portions of the building and will remain tenants while Trettel finalizes redevelopment plans.
Preliminary plans call for 12-16 residential units on upper floors and possibly some loft-style office space. These will be quintessential “hard lofts” with huge windows, high ceilings, wood floors, and re-use of old machinery elements. Commercial space will be available on the ground floor. A two-story carriage house on the back that is much older than main building is likely to be renovated for an office suite or townhouse. The carriage house originally served a mansion that was demolished before the Gutman Building was constructed.
Trettel has a knack for buying properties “on the edge” but close to the action. In 2006, Trettel renovated the circa-1875 Buehl Block at the corner of Ellicott and Broadway with a mix of retail space and upscale lofts. He later renovated adjacent 285 Ellicott Street where global engineering firm, Tetra Tech has its local offices. Next door at 301 Ellicott the old Emulso Products building is being prepped for a mixed use project.
Across the street he renovated the former Hengerer’s Department Store warehouse into a self-storage facility, Storage Central.
Trettel also helped kick-off the recent development wave on Main Street’s 500 block. He was the first to to undertake significant renovations there when 523 Main and 500 Washington were combined and renovated as Main Washington Exchange with retail and office space. At 515 Main Street, Trettel bought and renovated a three-story building that is now anchored by Main Street Studios and Buffalo Bike Share.
For the Gutman Building, Trettel feels that the building is ideally positioned to take advantage of the great things happening in and around downtown and offer unique downtown living space. The building is close to ECC and the ballpark and within walking distance to light rail, Canalside and the Cobblestone District. It is also on the eastern edge of downtown close to the Larkin District.
One less embarrassing building at a major gateway to downtown Buffalo.