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First Niagara: $20.8 million in financing and historic tax credit investments for Bethune Lofts in North Buffalo

by jmaloni


Thu, Oct 16th 2014 03:35 pm

Early 20th century factory reborn into 87 modern loft apartments

First Niagara Financial Group has provided a total of $20.8 million in combined financing and historic tax credit equity investments for Ciminelli Real Estate Corp.'s Bethune Lofts at The Buffalo Meter Co. in North Buffalo.

The 100,000-square-foot building, which today houses the Bethune Lofts at 2917 Main St., near Hertel Avenue, dates back to 1915. In the nearly 100 years since its construction, the building has had a unique history. Situated near the University at Buffalo South Campus, it once housed the UB School of Architecture and was then named Bethune Hall after Louise Blanchard Bethune, the first female professional architect in the U.S.

To commemorate its history Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., a full-service commercial real estate services firm with offices in New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, retained the Bethune name in its new loft project. Today, the building has been renovated into 87 upscale apartments.

"Maintaining this building's unique character and charm was very important to us throughout this renovation, as was ensuring that we were creating an energy-efficient space," said Jim Gottstine, chief operating officer of Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. "In First Niagara, we know to expect a capable partner who understands and appreciates the importance of preserving the beautiful architecture we have in Buffalo. Through their financing and investment, we were able to transform the Bethune Lofts into high-quality living space that the residents of our community want and deserve."

First Niagara provided a $14.5 million construction loan, as well as a $6.3 million historic tax credit equity investment in the project.

"This vacant building's future did not look bright until Paul and his team stepped in to return it to relevancy as a vibrant residential project in the City of Buffalo," said Russ Gentner, First Niagara commercial real estate lending team leader. "We're pleased that we were able to put our experience providing financing and capital on historic renovation projects to work for Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. and the Bethune Lofts."

Since 2007, First Niagara has provided more than $125 million in financing for projects that preserve historic buildings throughout the Buffalo area - and $31.8 million in historic tax credit equity investments.

The Bethune Lofts was awarded the silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for new construction from the U.S. Green Building Council. Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. used recycled and regionally sourced material for this adaptive reuse project, as well as operating and mechanical systems that are designed to conserve water and energy.

To learn more about the Bethune Lofts, visit www.bethunelofts.com.

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