Work to Begin on Mentholatum Projectby Jonathan D. Epstein
Ciminelli, which bought the 80,000-square-foot daylight-factory building from The Garrett Leather Company in February 2016, plans to redevelop the four-story facility at 1360 Niagara into one- and two-bedroom apartments, along with 4,500 square feet of retail space on the first floor.
The $19 million project will also include 35 indoor parking spaces on the basement level, with another 50 surface parking spaces on the site.
Work will begin with site remediation and interior abatement, followed by renovation work. Crews will restore blocked-in window openings to their original size, and Ciminelli will install replica "daylight factory" windows on all sides that reflect the original look from the early 1900s, when the building was first constructed for Mentholatum.
"It's exactly like what we did at Bethune Lofts," said Ciminelli project manager Amber Holycross, referring to the developer's apartment conversion on Main Street.
The cleanup and window work is expected to finish within six months. Ciminelli officials are also considering how to restore the large-scale Mentholatum sign that faces the Niagara Thruway.
The entire project is expected to be completed by December 2017. Officials have not yet started pre-leasing the units, but there are "a lot of interested parties," said spokeswoman Anne Duggan. The units range in size from 800 to 1,300 square feet, with rents of $1,150 to $1,900 per month.
The developer also bought adjacent parcels at 1336 and 1340 Niagara as part of the primary acquisition. Officials have not yet determined plans for those parcels, but they also will be prepared for future development through the state environmental cleanup program.