The redevelopment of the former Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. warehouse is helping to brew a renaissance in the Larkin District in Buffalo, N.Y.
Developed by Indianapolis-based KCG Cos., the adaptive-reuse of the warehouse adds 147 mixed-income loft-style apartments, a restaurant, and interior parking to the growing neighborhood.
KCG Cos. president R.J. Pasquesi says the area started to be redeveloped over a decade ago when some old warehouses were converted to commercial and office space. Close to downtown, the stadium area, and the waterfront, the neighborhood has seen an influx of jobs, restaurants, retail, and market-rate housing.
“AP Lofts at Larkinville is very much part of a larger vision for the entire neighborhood revitalization,” adds Stacy Kaplowitz, vice president of development at KCG Cos. “You can see how it’s all coming together and moving the neighborhood in a diverse, walkable, and accessible direction.”
KCG Cos. had been looking at the warehouse, originally built in 1910 and historically operated as a major distribution center, for several years. With the idea of creating a mixed-use development, it got the support from the local municipality and the state. The developer then had to be creative to maximize the space.
“It’s a very solid structure from the standpoint of the bones of it,” says Pasquesi. “But it’s a big square building, and square buildings don’t really lend themselves to apartments. We had to figure out a way to get light in there.”
With the help of Carmina Wood Morris Architects and general contractor R&P Oak Hill Development, the team blasted a hole through the center to create an atrium to add more windows and natural light. In addition, the exterior façade was cleaned up and a new roof was added.
The development features one- and two-bedroom units, with 118 of the units targeting households earning 60% of the area median income (AMI) and the remainder for households at or below 130% of the AMI. The first residents started moving in in September, and the building is expected to be fully leased in March.
The building’s commercial space houses the Belt Line Brewery & Kitchen, a farm-to-table concept restaurant and on-site brewery.
“Bringing a restaurant is one more quality-of-life amenity that they will have in Larkinville,” adds Kaplowitz. “People can live, work, and hang out in this neighborhood. It’s transformative.”
Additional building amenities include a business center, a leasing office, a game room, a fitness center, a lounge and coffee bar area, and on-site laundry. “The finishes are gorgeous, and the interior feel is very hip,” adds Kaplowitz.
The $40 million development was primarily financed with 4% low-income housing tax credits as well as state and federal historic credits, with equity provided by Boston Capital. Additional financing includes approximately $8 million in soft loans and a permanent mortgage from the state and a $1 million HOME loan from the city of Buffalo. Citi Community Capital provided the construction financing.
The development is KCG’s first foray into New York. “We have a healthy pipeline and more adaptive-reuse developments in the works,” Kaplowitz says. “We’re excited with the quality and outcome of [AP Lofts at Larkinville] and are excited to do more.”