Big Reveal: Dun Building Going Residential

Another of downtown’s landmarks is going the residential conversion route.  Priam Enterprises is proposing a $5 million project to convert the ornate Dun Building’s upper floors into 23 upscale apartment/condo units.  The first floor and garden levels would remain commercial space.

Façade work will include masonry and window repair and new windows on the southern facade. Wylier & Associates is working on the plans along with Restoration Studios.

From the application to the Preservation Board:

The Dun Building, built in 1893, is noted for being the first “high-rise” ten story building to be built in Buffalo, which utilized both masonry and steel frame construction. Additionally, it has one of Buffalo’s most ornately decorated masonry facades, which is marveled at by architectural enthusiasts and historians from across the United States, Canada and beyond. However, the Dun Building presents some unique issues for redevelopment, in that the building was designed to conform to the shape of the site, which is very narrow in width and skewed inward along Swan Street to an unusable “point” at the South-West corner. The building’s footprint occupies one hundred percent of the actual footprint on the site boundary map.

It is Priam Enterprises intent, through the conversion of the business occupancy to a less dense R2 occupancy, to perform a few necessary exterior masonry-window repairs. The change of use from Business to Residential, will reduce the building’s net occupant load by over fifty percent The residents parking needs will be accommodated via Priam Enterprises’ adjacent parking ramp facility, located directly across from the Dun Building at 93 Pearl Street (Downtown Parking Garage).

Priam will be also restoring-cleaning the entire exterior of the building, including the weathered windows on all facades and will be re-installing the building’s feature top cornice. The exterior masonry walls and sills will be repaired, pointed, aligned, and cleaned. Existing select cast iron ganged window structures and accent features will be sanded, cleaned, and repaired as required then reprimed and painted to match original building window frame color.

To date several emergency exterior masonry repairs have been completed, including the buildings original main masonry chimney at the “rear” and narrow end of the building and Various top cornice & Mid-level “beltline” cornices that were literally crumbling & displaced around the buildings exterior perimeter. This exterior deterioration caused primarily from the effects of decades of freeze-thaw cycles. Additional brick & stone pointing will be continued through the project exterior restorations. Windows will be restored in place. New windows are scheduled for the south wall elevation, a total of 24 new window units.

Priam is still working on plans for a new cornice.  The company received a NY Main Street grant in 2019 but has not moved forward with the work.  From the application:

To date our office with the assistance of the owner Priam, LLC have explored several options for cornice design replacement. All of these options have proven to be to costly to implement. We are continuing to investigate other, more cost effective solutions for the cornice replacement at the top of the buildings roof line. There are extensive structural & logistical considerations that are driving the design & restoration of this cornice replacement. Efforts are ongoing with this aspect of the building restoration, however this one exterior feature will be treated as a separate project, should a cost effective solution be arrived at, and we will resubmit to the Historic Preservation Board at that time. Priam, LLC has restored the Buildings original masonry feature buildings Brick Chimney and other immediate structural steel & masonry deteriorations this year, under a City of Buffalo, NY emergency restoration permit.

Priam purchased the building at 110 Pearl Street in 2013 for $1.325 million. It is named for R.G. Dun & Co., a precursor to financial services firm Dun & Bradstreet and was designed by architects E.B. Green and W.S. Wicks.   The Pearl Street building is located within the Joseph Ellicott Historic District and is a designated city landmark.


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