Article Originally Published in bizjournals.com
After spending more than $50 million to develop two buildings in Buffalo’s Hydraulics District, the Frontier Group of Cos. is making another $15 million development bet there.
The Frontier Group has proposed a three-story, 80,000-square-foot building at 592 Seneca St. with 60 market-rate apartments and an adjoining 25,000-square-foot building to be used as a warehouse or light manufacturing center. The Swan Street Railyard will be developed on four acres that Frontier bought from CSX Railroad in 2013.
“We’ve had so much success there, it makes it easier for us to consider moving forward with a new project,” said Chris Wietig, Frontier director of business development.
Other developers are also scouting the area for potential projects, said Crystal Middleton, Buffalo development director, who credits Frontier for drawing attention to the area.
“The Hydraulics is a really a bridge between downtown and the Larkin District,” Wietig said. “The Railyard project is representative of everything we’ve learned about the Hydraulics so far.”
Projects in the Hydraulic District, a five block area bounded by Seneca and Swan Streets and just west of the Larkin District include:
• 500 Seneca St., once a warehouse for F.N. Burt Co. and constructed in 1920. The Frontier Group developed 98 apartments there and a mix of office and retail tenants.
“The Hydraulics has become a very active neighborhood,” said developer Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Cos. with headquarters in the building. “It wasn’t always that way, but Frontier has a lot to do with its emergence. One of the attractions is that there are so many buildings in the Hydraulics area that are historic and have unique stories to themselves.”
• 550 Seneca St., Frontier Group renovated the building into 47 apartments.
• AP Lofts, 545 Swan St., The eight-story, 300,000-square-foot building, once a warehouse for Atlantic & Pacific Co., has 147 apartments. Developer was KCG Development LLC of Indianapolis, $40 million.
“You want to know what has developed in these buildings?” Wietig said. “A spirit of entrepreneurialism. You can sense a start up culture emerging here, from both the commercial and residential tenants.”