On the Market: 1502 Niagara Street

With the market for loft apartments steady and a lack of obvious downtown conversion candidates, developers have been looking elsewhere for opportunity.  Two of the largest local developers have lined up loft projects outside of downtown.  Ciminelli Development is converting the Bethune Building in the University District and Rocco Termini has two projects planned for Elmwood Avenue north of Buffalo State College.  
There are options scattered throughout the city.  One is a seven-story warehouse at 1502 Niagara Street that is being marketed as a redevelopment site.  From the J.R. Militello Realty listing:
A great location as it is near Buffalo State College with close access to the I-190 and the Rt. 198.

This seven story structure is made up of pre-stressed concrete and brick veneer. The floor plates are 50′ x 150′ and the floors are concrete with maple overlay. The facility has views of the Niagara River, Niagara Region, Downtown Buffalo, and Canada. In addition to the tower is one story totaling 10,000 SF, optimal for indoor parking.

niagara222.jpg
The asking price for the 61,152 sq.ft. property is not disclosed.  Bison Storage and Duggan’s Trucking currently occupy the building. 
Niagara Street is lined with masonry warehouse and industrial buildings ripe for investment.  Closer to the Peace Bridge, Ellicott Development has residential plans for a property at 960 Busti Avenue.  That project has yet to start.
This one has challenges.  It not only overlooks the 190, it is across from the wastewater treatment plant.  But it has height- one of the tallest along Niagara Street.  It was originally occupied by F.N. Burt Company, a manufacturer of boxes and cartons.
Get Connected: J.R. Militello Realty Inc., 716.856.2872

About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

24 comments
No_Illusions
No_Illusions

"The decline in drivers was offset by an increase in public transportation use, walking and biking."

The majority of people on the 190 are commuters,going to their job at the GM Plant, DuPont, Downtown, Larkin, or the Lower East Side. These are people coming from the suburbs. They are definitely not within walking distance, many are not even within reasonable biking distance, and the are definitely not served by public transportation. Yeah, it reduces traffic...but mostly if you're in a dense European city, that has great public transportation...or are blocking off a park in the rare American city that has excellent public transportation.

If you have an example where they narrowed a major highway a kin to the 190, then you would have had a better case.

Also there was only a 25% decrease on average.

It does make a good point though. It seems we should be focusing on public transportation. Once we do, then we can tear down all these imposing highways. But until that day comes the study means very little in this instance.

grad94
grad94

a cure for the common cold would be nice, too.

;)

MrGreenJeans
MrGreenJeans

Thruway noise could be dramatically decreased by using quieter pavement; most of that road is concrete with grooves running crosswise, but some sections have the grooves along the lines of traffic. Drive it some time, and pay attention to how your tire noise drops when you go from crosswise to longitudinal grooving. Regular asphalt makes less noise, and there are mixtures containing ground-up tires which are very quiet.

ps: If you experience a raging economy for more than 4 hours, seek medical assistance. :)

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

So based on the comments so far, all we need to get moving on this are to upgrade the sewage treatment plant, downgrade the 190, and develop a "raging economy."

And here I was thinking this might be a heavy lift.

LouisTully
LouisTully

Meh, there's no in-between thumb... only up or down. Does it belong in the landfill? I'd say no, if for no other reason, because it isn't vacant. The take-away from your comment, though, is to choose your battles. If the owner wanted to demolish it I would oppose on the grounds of not destroying what we have. But it's not like it's Old North. The article didn't even include a date it was built. I recall FN Burt as a name that's been around a while but how historic could the building be if the date of construction isn't even included.

grad94
grad94

quick follow-up: everyone tends to assume that traffic is a permanent and immutable quantity, like annual precipitation. actually, it is quite elastic and tends to expand and contract based on road and parking capacity.

http://www.transalt.org/files/newsroom/magazine/002MayJune/12-13shrinkingroads.html

if we don't want a highway ruining our waterfront and suppressing property values for miles around, we should do something about it. it isn't as though we still have a population of 550,000 and two cars for every household.

ivan putski jr
ivan putski jr

I never really had that experience there...I mean Santasierros is kind of a dump too but like Rascals the food is pretty good...loved their onion rings....as far as the smell goes,.the whole Westside smells...take a tip from me...never go for a walk on garbage day on a hot, humid morning in the Westside...you literally would think you're in a 3rd world country

SecedefromNYS
SecedefromNYS

I am all for saving buildings (CENTRAL TERMINAL, Colvin Church - Goodbye).... If we had a raging economy even buildings near waste treatment plants and highways would be renovated and occupied.... We havent had a raging economy in 50 years (thank you NYS and our crooked local idiots).... this building should be in the landfill

whatever
whatever

"with signalized cross streets"

Just asking - could there really even be signalized cross streets with the train tracks running parallel used by Amtrak and CSX? I realize there's such things as RR crossing signs/signals, but would that be allowed for those tracks?

About noise from 190 - in addition to condos near the Gardiner in Toronto as some have mentioned, more local examples are Admirals Walk condos and the Paladino-built condo towers - all pretty close to the 190, and don't seem to have problems attracting residents.

Perhaps the sound of car traffic doesn't much bother some people. The smell from the treatment plant might be a much bigger difficulty to overcome.

Buffalogni
Buffalogni

How old is the water treatment plant? Any chance that this will be updated in the near future to abate the smell?

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

From around Albany St. north to Black Rock, residential living this side of Niagara St. is about as dead as you can get. The only views are the sewage treatment plant and thruway below.

Yeah in a high rise you can see Fort Erie but at what cost to the lower floors. If we can convince Fort Erie to put the truck plaza over there and ruin their shoreline then go for it.

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

Along with one of the dirtiest sitdown areas I've ever been in. Add to the that the stench outside around the building and it was not just from the sewer authority.

SadLlama
SadLlama

RumRunner beat me to it, the smell in this area during the summer can be absolutely awful, especially during the summer after a heavy rain storm. I'm not sure how the rowers can handle the stench without passing out.

LouisTully
LouisTully

The noise is surprising. I'm four blocks east of Niagara near the Niagara offramp - so there is about 6(?) blocks between Niagara and the 190, plus the 4 - and I can hear it clearly. However, that isn't standing in the way of the Ellicot project at Busti/Niagara. Plus, it's not like there isn't residential in other cities looking out on thruways. The Gardiner Expressway in Toronto and the tons of residential high-rises comes to mind. Of course, that could be comparing apples and oragnes.

RumRunner
RumRunner

If they do end up converting this space for residential purposes, I feel sorry for the saps they dupe into buying a condo in that building. Maybe its just me, but the smell of churning treated and untreated sewerage just across the canal is not something I would want to deal with every time I wanted to open a window.

No_Illusions
No_Illusions

If there is no decrease in traffic the idling cars at heavily congested stop lights will cause even more pollution. I agree that the 190 is a significant barrier to the development of the west side. However there needs to be a better solution. What good is a cross walk with the amount of traffic the 190 receives. Just go along route 5 in woodlawn to see how restrictive downgraded roads can be. Traffic needs to diverted somewhere, and Niagara Street cannot handle that amount of traffic.

The best option is to put much of the 190 underground...but obviously that would be super expensive. At least though it does provide the solution for both problems.

Also the water front is still industrially active here. Residential and industry does not mix well period. This area needs a lot more in order to thrive than just tearing down a highway.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

Savvy investors should be looking at Niagara Street, and this is a great opportunity. It would make a great preservation tax credit project to convert to lofts. A primary asset would be sweeping views of the river from Peace Bridge to International Railway Bridge. It has nearby expressway access (for those who are into that kind of thing), and is very close to Black Rock, Buff State, the Elmwood Village, Grant Street, etc. It's on the Riverwalk and at the end of the Scajaquada/Jesse Kregal Pathway, and not far from Broderick Park, which will soon see a 7-figure makeover. And proximity to Santasiero's, Community Beer Works, and some really good neighbors such as Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper.

About the charming 4-story building across the street, Buffalo Rising friend Bernice Radle posted a piece on her blog about that last week:

http://berniceradle.com/2013/01/16/1469-niagara-street-a-historic-gem-in-need-of-tlc/

A project with the building featured here would help attract developer interest to that smaller building across the street. As Bernice points out, it does indeed need TLC -- and soon. Unfortunately, if you look into the history of the non-realty "realty" that owns it, it appears to be in the hands of serial flippers. For example, they appear to have flipped several houses on Victoria Ave (133, 94, 31), off Fillmore, perhaps between family members. Someone with more experience in real estate and the city's anti-flipping policies might find this something worth looking into. Before it's too late :(

Tahooter
Tahooter

This is currently the most butt ugly building on the north I-190. It would be a dream if someone could at least beautify this animal. I would be ok if it stayed a warehouse, just needs a serious exterior makeover. [Not sure why all of Niagara St. north of Rich's to the 198 isn't developed/used for US/Canadian distribution zone]

WCP is smart to indicate the building is across from the waste treatment facility. You can't minimize the year-round stench that permeates the area--especially in the warm, windows-open months. Would not make a good residential property unless you wanted to live in a year-round a/c, filtered environment.

r-k-tekt
r-k-tekt

I've always thought this would be awesome loft apartments. Conveniently located with views of the river and Canada this would be a no brainer.

As to the comments about noise and pollution....Have you noticed the condos along the Gardner in Toronto?...Thousands of units along a stetch of highway that probably has 10x the traffic of the 190.

ivan putski jr
ivan putski jr

Then maybe Rascals will reopen....it use to be the best restaurant on the Westside

Shoey
Shoey

It's a pretty ugly building but I've grown quite fond of it. There aren't a ton of 7 story buildings that far away from downtown so there's definitely potential there. If this building was in the 300 block it probably would have been re-habbed 10 years ago.

elias
elias

there's a great 4 story building across the street from this one, on niagara and potomac that is abandoned and begging for a rehab, but that stench is atrocious. sure would be nice to see both buildings converted into great living space.

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