Going Up: Two Buffalo Developments Making Head Way

Thu, Jul 30th 2020 01:00pm

James Fink
Buffalo Business First

Bob Motz, Arc Building Partners project manager, was watching a crew of workers at Ciminelli Real Estate Corp.’s $50 million, 201 Ellicott building downtown.

The ground temperature was 96 degrees. Five stories up, the crew was installing rebar and other steel decking materials. “Those guys are baking up there,” Motz said.

Buffalo’s high temperatures this month are part of the mixed-use project nestled between the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library’s main branch and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority headquarters.

“Heat does have an effect on the concrete we are pouring,” Motz said. “We do have to add more additives into the concrete mix to compensate.”

The project on a 2.2-acre, 300-car surface parking lot consists of 201 apartments and a 20,000-square-foot Braymiller’s Market.

Denise Juron-Borgese, Ciminelli vice president of development, said the project is about 20% complete since construction started in the fall.

The apartments should be move-in ready by summer 2021, and Braymiller’s is expected to open by spring 2022.

“Working on a tight city block is a bit of a challenge,” Juron-Borgese said.“It’s different than building in a suburban field. But every site has its own set of challenges. It’s all part of the construction process.”

As of mid-July, there were 25 construction workers on site. By fall, as many as 100 will be there. Juron-Borgese said the Braymiller portion should be enclosed by October and the apartments soon after.

Ciminelli is also working on the $15 million West End townhomes on Lakefront Boulevard in Waterfront Village. There will be 20 town-homes, with eight in varying stages of construction. The West End is the last residential project planned for Waterfront Village.

Amber Holycross, Ciminelli senior development manager, said all 20 units should be completed by 2022. With construction underway, interest is beginning to perk up, she said.

The focus in mid-July was on framing the units, installing utilities and “making them watertight,” said Mike Lignos, Hayes Construction Services vice president of construction.

“We deal with a lot of winds,” Lignos said. West End sits on the edge of Lake Erie. If winds exceed 30 mph, Hayes has to scale back on crews working beyond the first floor.

The townhomes will range from 2,679 to 3,527 square feet and cost between $850,000 and $1.4 million. All have three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. “The big selling point is the views,” Holycross said.

Lignos agreed: “You know one of the big benefits of working on a waterfront site? Just looking out at the lake and Canada makes even the toughest day easier.”