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The Dorian is the latest repurposed building to be unveiled on Niagara Street in Buffalo

Developers continue to invest in former industrial and warehouse buildings, converting them into loft apartments, retail space, and restaurants.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A unveiling was held Thursday for another old structure in Buffalo, which has been repurposed into high end real estate, in an area that's become a hot spot for redevelopment on the city's West Side. 

Natale Development's The Dorian is now home to a medical practice, an IT company, and seven loft-style apartments. 

Built in 1904 as a factory producing copper fittings, the four-story, 33,000 square foot structure at 1485 Niagara Street near Potomac Ave had been almost entirely vacant for much of the past decade.

It is Natale's second foray into redevelopment along Niagara Street, after becoming the first of several large development companies to begin investing there over the past several years.

Its first investment, the seven-story Crescendo Lofts, is across the street from The Dorian.

Along a two-mile stretch of Niagara between Busti and Tonawanda streets, Ellicott Development and Ciminelli have also spent millions to transform former industrial buildings and warehouses into high end apartments, retail spaces, offices, and bars and restaurants.

There have also been several new developments and rehabilitations of existing buildings along Niagara, closer to downtown.

Credit: WGRZ - Dave McKinley

"The City of Buffalo has spent more than $20 million  in infrastructure improvement in the Niagara Street corridor," Mayor Byron Brown said.

These included surface repaving, sidewalks, and bike lanes that Natale Development CEO Angelo Natale also credited with heightening the interest among developers to invest there.

"I think once you get that type of interest, the momentum continues," Natale said.

In almost all cases, including this latest one, there was government assistance in the form of tax credits, which are extended specifically for repurposing old buildings like these.

"You really need those because when it comes to these older buildings they really are expensive to develop," Natale said.

"It all comes together for the public  good," insisted NYS Sen Sean Ryan (D-Buffalo), in whose district the development along Niagara Street has been occurring. "And it's certainly in the public good to keep our historic structures going in the city of Buffalo."

However, with each development of an old building that occurs, it becomes harder to find a viable Brownfield in a box to breath new life into.

In the case of the Crescendo, however, Natale has plans to add on to the existing structure.

"Our goal in the next two years is to potentially build a (12-story) tower over the garage of Crescendo. We are working right now to develop some preliminary plans, and I'll have more to announce in the future," he said.

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