Construction Watch: Distillery Lofts

Rocco Termini is working his magic in North Buffalo.  After opening Houk Lofts on nearby Grote Street just weeks ago, he has turned his attention to the larger Distillery Lofts project at 1738 Elmwood Avenue.  Once the home of FWS Furniture Company, and earlier the General Railway Signal Co., the complex is already looking much better after being scrubbed of its battleship grey color.

Rocco Termini’s Signature Development is converting the 100,000 sq.ft. building into 46 market rate apartments, 22,000 sq.ft. of commercial space, and a 10,000 sq.ft. restaurant/distillery.  The mix of uses will surround a 3,000 sq.ft. interior courtyard. The former Houk Wire Wheel Company facility on Grote Street was converted into 22 one and two-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $950 to $1,275/month.  A high-end hair salon and tattoo studio occupy the 3,000 sq.ft. of commercial space in the building.

BMS Design is architect on both projects.

Get Connected: Signature Development, 716. 842.1938

About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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This is simply amazing! I think that it may spur even more development along Elmwood into Kenmore. The Terminator does it again!


Just think, a Five Guys, Popeyes, Louies, and Jim's Steakout all within walking distance.


They're really flying with construction/renovation of this one...says a lot about quality industrial buildings. Any idea if there were "remediation issues"?


Buffalo's on the move.


"high end tattoo parlor?" isn't that an oxymoron?  

just kidding.  i am bowled over by the paint removal.  big improvement.  

a hint to the practitioners of demolition-by-neglect: if you are determined to make your building look worthless and expendable, paint it gray.

Stan Da Man

What the hell is happening at the Pierce Arrow anyway? There was a wrecking ball that took out some top floor windows a few months ago, but it's remained pretty much the same since then.


I think this project is wonderful but isn't this stretch of Elmwood still a disastrous pedestrian experience in the winter?  I remember seeing the winter slush get sprayed across the lower portions of the FWS building storefront as cars drove by.  I hope that is no longer an issue because I would think that to be a deal-breaker for any potential tenant.



"the complex is already looking much better after being scrubbed of its battleship grey color."

So when I suggest that same thing about Carmina's building with the battleship gray facade at 9 Genesee St. you didn't "like" that.  I guess it all depends on your "perspective"  

Funny how some others have nothing negative to say about removal of paint on this project either.   

Great job Rocco.  Some people get it.  


Awesome news!  Great location for Buff State students especially!


Looks great, Rocco Termini is amazing when it comes to crunching the numbers and the vision needed for these old buildings. Wish the governor or someone could talk him into taking another look at the AM&A's building. It will need someone like Rocco to pull it off. 


This structure presents a quiet majesty architecturally and is yet another sign of a city being reborn Bravo!


We're talking proud!


super convent being so close to VL

Stan Da Man

@ChristopherAWahls The Film-Arts Center takes up most (all?) of the building now:

Stan Da Man

@OldFirstWard Corner of Elmwood and Hertel would be perfect for one of those mega-NOCO stations like the one in Williamsville that has Tim Horton's and Charlie the Butcher inside. And it has Free Wi-Fi!


Part of the parapet  \ upper floor facade fell off a while back. It looks like they uncovered a pretty large area of the facade that needed to be rebuilt. They have since expanded the removed area and are starting to rebuild it. Seems like a systematic problem with that building. The whole upper floor facade was rebuilt at some point based on the different color bricks.


@Stan Da Man There is scaffolding and some sort of work being done on the facade right across from the whatever bar that turns over every year or so.  To the right of Papa Jake's.



i think the units will fill up and the tenants will become a new constituency for traffic calming and improved pedestrian amenities on that portion of elmwood.  well, fingers crossed, anyway.



Maybe the city can re-line the street here like they did with Delaware Ave downtown...  Reduce it from 4 lanes down to 2 lanes plus bike lanes and a center turn lane.


@OldFirstWard I wasn't aware you were financing Mr. Carmina's project? 
Plus Rocco sandblasted off the paint, not scrubbed it off.  That comment is deceiving.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't that disqualify him from utilizing SHPO tax credits?


@OldFirstWard @wcperspective All I read was "waahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"


@OldFirstWard @wcperspective Lol you're such a cry baby.  It's a fantastic thing!  It would be the most fantastic, ideal thing in probably 99.9% of instances.  But it's a fantastic thing when it is feasible!  Because that isn't always the case.  And if it doesn't get done it doesn't require incessant bitching and moaning because the evil painted brick continues to live!  Grow up, dogg.

Great perspective pun.  Very rich.


@NewBuffalo If I'd have to guess, with the number of boutique hotels in the works and the success of the Houk lofts, Rocco just changed the plans to meet what he sees as a more successful direction for the place. The man seems to know what works.


Drinking already?


@Stan Da Man

Isn't WalMart in the process of acquiring all properties on the northwest corner in preparation for the construction of a mega store?  



ChristopherAWahls, brownscanoe, runner68 etc...the shapeshifters are gravitating into your universe.  


@wcperspective Hey WCP... Any chance they could get you some interior shots?  Most people have been there as FWS, and it was pretty stripped down then.  Just curious what they got going on inside and what it looks like with all the windows opened up.


@ChristopherAWahls @Stan Da Man 

That's true. I was in the Pierce Arrow a while back for an estate sale and the vast majority of the building was empty. Also, I believe that back parts of the building is used as winter storage for cars and motorcycles etc.


No way! Not a WalMart or gas station.