Buffalo developer makes move into the Warehouse District

Top image: Joseph Palumbo, architect with Carmina-Wood-Morris, before the Albany Planning Board on July 23rd, 2019. (Photo by Ian Benjamin)

A 77-unit apartment complex may be constructed on upper Broadway behind the Lost & Found Bar and Kitchen (formerly Barrel Saloon), if a plan by a Massachusetts real estate developer comes to pass.

Waltham-based Dakota Partners LLC has proposed renovating the former CMP Industries LLC factory into 45 units composed of eight one-bedroom and 37 two-bedroom units. The most recent addition, at 928 Broadway, would be demolished to make way for a standalone five-story, 34,890sqft apartment building containing 16 one-bedroom units and 16 two-bedroom units. The existing complex includes four buildings spread across parcels at 26 Pleasant, 928 Broadway, and 930-940 Broadway.

Dakota Partners is looking to sell the project based on historic aesthetic of the manufacturing buildings, proximity to public transportation, and amenities — such as two dog parks, one for small and one for large dogs. There will also be 61 parking spaces, multiple bike storage areas, and — similar to other recent projects — interest by the developer in partnering with CDPHP Cycle and/or Capital CarShare.

The project was presented at the July Albany Planning Board meeting by Mark Pilotte, with Dakota Partners, and engineer Joseph Palumbo and architect Paul Lang, both with Buffalo-based Carmina-Wood-Morris.

The new structure at 928 Broadway will be “podium style, with a smaller footprint, with pylons that come down, and driveway access underneath for parking behind,” said Palumbo. “We’re proposing to […] put in some dedicated parking spaces that are more defined and have greenspace and pedestrian movement throughout the site.”

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 4.18.35 PM
Rendering of the new 5-story apartment building, as seen from Broadway. Dakota has tentatively christened the project the Albany Lofts, perhaps the third project to bear that name in as many years. Hopefully they’ll change it to something more evocative of the past, or at least more creative, but it’s a working title, so we can give them a pass for now. (Credit: Carmina-Wood-Morris)

The new construction building will be disconnected from the historic structures, which will give the developer the opportunity to restore the original fenestration patterns and facade, a requirement for their project to qualify for historic tax credits. Entrance will be on Broadway, as shown in the above rendering.

The main entrance to the historic complex will be via the existing boiler room for the current manufacturer — Nobilium, which produces dentistry prosthetics — and will house the common areas and leasing office. Normally, this would raise the Board’s eyebrows, as such mechanical spaces are usually cramped and unpleasant; in this case, however, the space has tall vaulted ceilings and skylights that provide ample light, according to the applicants.

“It’s nice,” said Lang. “It takes you back [in time] for a moment.”

Given the complex includes an existing four-story structure that already fronts on Broadway, Planning Chair Al DeSalvo questioned the rationale for not placing the main pedestrian entrance on the main pedestrian thoroughfare.

“Unfortunately, while an at-grade access would be ideal immediately off of Broadway, the first story is actually five feet above grade so it would be a rather complicated ramp and stair structure to get into the space,” said Palumbo, adding that “there’s currently no defined doorways along this [stretch], so that would also force us to go back to SHPO [NY State Historic Preservation Office] or NPS [National Park Service] for approval to modify a fenestration to accommodate a door.”

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history, architecture, etymology

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