A "golden brick" ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon at the site of the former Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company warehouse in Buffalo's Larkinville neighborhood. The building, built in 1910, is being converted into a mixed-income apartment complex.
What is being named the AP Lofts at Larkinville will feature 147 mixed-use units. The building will also include a professionally-managed leasing office, community room, business center, fitness center, outdoor patios, green spaces and climate-controlled indoor parking.
The project is led by KCG Development, which was formed in 2015 to develop apartment communities throughout the eastern half of the U.S. The company is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana.
"We view the Buffalo community as a complex quilt," said Marvin Wilmoth, KCG Development's vice president of development. "It has many patches, all with unique identity but equally important to its strength and beauty."
A little more than half of the $40 million project is funded through tax-exempt bond financing by New York State's Homes and Community Renewal Housing Finance Agency. A mix of state and federal tax credits also factor in the project.
Brendan Mehaffy, executive director of the City of Buffalo's Office of Strategic Planning, said the project is an example of Mayor Byron Brown's priorities in regards to housing development.
"This $40 million project is a win-win, breathing new life into a historic building while helping us to meet the growing demand for new housing in Buffalo," he said.
In addition to numerous elected officials, local historian Eva Doyle was invited to offer remarks. She recalled working at the old A & P Market, wrapping chickens. She has authored 12 books and is now a great-grandmother. She shared the message she often gives to young people, not to give up their dreams because many important people got their start in the neighborhood where these apartments will soon open.
"I have memories of this area because it produced so many successful African-Americans who went on to head business and education and civil rights and so much more," Doyle said.
A completion date was announced on site but, according to KCG's website, it is anticipated some time this fall.