With numerous elected officials from the City of Buffalo and New York State present, developers cut a ceremonial ribbon Friday afternoon inside a long-neglected downtown building that is now home to a dozen single- and double-bedroom apartments.
The Alexandre Apartments are located in the former Loew's Theatre Warehouse at 510 Washington Street. The building was constructed in 1920.
Amy Judd, managing member of the apartments, spoke of how the neighborhood has improved in recent years. She recalled walking through this section of town while working on Court Street and the derelict conditions. WBFO then asked her about how the vision came to be for this building when it was acquired in 2014.
"I think the vision didn't come in until we actually cleaned it out of all the pigeons," Judd said. "It was abandoned for 18 years prior to us purchasing it, so it was kind of in rough shape. I think with the process of working with designers and seeing how we could set up floor plans, the vision started to come together."
The vision has now been realized with loft apartments that will be market rate, according to developers, with rents ranging from $1,800 to $2,250 per month. The rent includes a parking space in the nearby Mohawk ramp.
The $5 million project includes state incentives provided through the Better Buffalo Fund, a component of the Buffalo Billion initiative. Judd says the tax breaks provided made this project possible.
"It just wouldn't have been financially feasible," she said. "The building, when it is done, will be appraised for less than it what it cost to fix."
But Judd says she and her husband, as well as others within the neighborhood, are willing to put money into its restoration. She says people are desiring a walkable neighborhood and the apartment building provides easy access to the city's light rail system or a short bike ride to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, from where they hope to attract professionals as potential residents.
But there's also room for improvement on the block.
"You need to have a grocery store as well," Judd added. "And we're hopeful that comes downtown at some point in the future."