Construction Watch: Barcalo Buffalo

The Frizlen Group and BRD Construction celebrated the beginning of work at its mixed-used project, Barcalo Buffalo Living & Commerce, located at 225 Louisiana Street in the Old First Ward yesterday.  The development is transforming the former Barcalo Manufacturing Company complex where the famous ‘Barcalounger’ recliners.

“We could not be more excited to begin construction on a building with such historical significance and plentiful opportunity in the Old First Ward, a Buffalo neighborhood with deep roots and close proximity to so many of Buffalo’s attributes, both old and new,’ said architect Karl Frizlen, president of the Frizlen Group. “We see 225 Louisiana Street as the best of both worlds—easy access to commercial areas such as downtown, Larkinville and Ohio Street, and close proximity to natural amenities like Father Conway Park, the Buffalo River and the future Riverline trail.”

The project entails the conversion of 225 Louisiana Street into 116 apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial space. Anticipated completion is 2023.

Between 1896 and 1917, eight buildings were constructed as part of the Barcalo Manufacturing Company complex. Barcalo featured diverse product lines, including metal furniture, mattresses, box springs, hand tools, automobile parts, airplane plates and its now famous “Barcalounger” recliners. Barcalo ceased operations at that location in 1963. The complex has been owned for the last few decades by the Sansone family, which has maintained the sprawling facility while managing a mix of light commercial and artist tenants.

“The Sansone family has been great stewards of the building,” said Frizlen, “We’re thrilled that they trust us to assume that role and to prepare this historic building for its next 100-plus years of life.”

There will be 116 apartments, with indoor residential parking and amenity spaces. The apartments will consist of an equal mix between one and two-bedroom lofts, as well as a number of three-bedroom apartments. The project’s amenities will reflect that urban-outdoor blend, such as a rooftop patio with a view of grain elevators, indoor parking, bike and kayak storage and a dog-washing station. There are also plans for a fitness and work-out area, cafeteria, laundry facility, as well as leisure seating in common areas to allow for congregation and relaxation.

“The project will add to Buffalo’s bustling housing sector, and it will do so in a neighborhood that has seen recent growth with new housing developments along the nearby Buffalo River,” said Michael Masters, president of BRD Construction. “And historic tax credits and property tax abatement will enable us to set rents within reach of households earning as low as 80% of the area median income, without jeopardizing the financial viability of the project.”

The project also includes 30,000 square feet of light commercial space, which will be geared towards light manufacturers, office tenants and commercial tenants including restaurants, artists and other businesses. Frizlen and Masters have engaged with neighbors to determine uses that will be both commercially viable and valuable to local residents.

“We’re open-minded about the commercial space, and we want it to include a mix of uses that both existing and new neighbors will support and enjoy”,” continued Masters. “All spaces feature exposed brick and timber frame construction, high ceilings and many original features that stay in place. The building offers considerable design flexibility and plenty of opportunity to express historic features in living and working spaces.”

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