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ECHDC: Sinatra & Company named developer for South Aud Block

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Mon, Aug 20th 2018 03:25 pm
Rendering by Sinatra & Company Real Estate LLC, provided by Empire State Development
Rendering by Sinatra & Company Real Estate LLC, provided by Empire State Development
Sinatra's $21 million project plans two mixed-use buildings with historic streets & evocation of prime slip; see site plan and renderings here
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. board of directors met Monday and designated a developer to undertake the South Aud Block redevelopment in Buffalo. Sinatra & Company Real Estate LLC will invest $21 million to build Heritage Point, two mixed-use buildings consisting of ground-floor retail and restaurants with Class "A" office space and residential units on the upper floors. The prime slip and sections of the historic Canal Street and Lloyd Street will also be completed by the developer. The South Aud Block redevelopment will open by May 2020.
"Sinatra & Company's planned buildings will further activate the site and diversify the neighborhood offerings, attractions and opportunities at Canalside, while retaining historic touches," ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said. "Heritage Point will serve as a catalyst for additional investment in Canalside and fuel further economic growth in the City of Buffalo."
"The vibrancy at Canalside is palpable," said Nick Sinatra, Sinatra & Company president and founder. "The leadership at Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. has been instrumental in creating a vibrant destination to date, and we feel incredibly excited to make our mark to Canalside with the integration of additional hospitality, office and now residential options."
With more than 71,000 gross square feet of space, the mixed-use buildings include up to five floors with an active ground-floor plan that includes several restaurants. The remaining floors include a total of 41 mixed-income residential units. The prime slip will be evoked through a pedestrian pathway over its former alignment, where it historically linked the Erie Canal with Lake Erie. The pathway will allow visitors to explore the area while simultaneously educating the public on the significance of the prime slip. The developer will also activate the towpath, sidewalks and prime slip with outdoor seating. The primarily vacant parcels are part of a former superblock that once contained War Memorial Auditorium, a sports and events arena that was demolished by ECHDC in 2009.
Sinatra & Company will receive $2 million from ECHDC for capital construction costs related to the prime slip and sections of Lloyd Street and Canal Street rights-of-way and canal lighting. Sinatra will also receive a $2 million loan from the Better Buffalo Fund (BBF). A key initiative of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's revitalization efforts in Western New York, the Better Buffalo Fund aims to create vibrant, mixed-use, high-density neighborhoods, while improving access to the major employment hubs by creating stronger transit and transportation linkages between neighborhoods, employment centers, job training and services.
Sinatra & Company is a land development and real estate firm founded in Buffalo in 2009 and led by Sinatra. The company initially invested in the multifamily sector and then diversified into retail, office and mixed-use properties. Today, the firm is comprised of 70 professionals working on over $425 million in real estate assets and services, including development, reuse, professional brokerage, advisory and property management. Recent development projects include 945 Kenmore, a ground-up, mixed-use project that employed Brownfield cleanup methods; and the Phoenix Brewery Apartments, an adaptive reuse historic project on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Nearing completion is Mid-City Apartments, a workforce housing project. Sinatra & Company is also working on the adaptive reuse of the former Women's & Children's Hospital of Buffalo with partner Ellicott Development.
The ECHDC is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state's chief economic development agency, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor. For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.

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