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Historic Dallenbach block getting $6M facelift

Some of Buffalo's oldest buildings will be getting new lives under a plan starting to fall into place.

The historic Dallenbach Block at Broadway and Michigan on the outskirts of downtown Buffalo has been falling apart for years. Architect and developer Steve Carmina is not sure the buildings can make it through another winter without work.

"Our plan is to get the roof off, get all of the structure out of the top, rebuild that masonry, put a new roof on, put a new front roof on, cap it, drain it, all before the snow flies," Carmina says.

With a $6 million development plan for the buildings in the works, he says construction will start this week on the essential structural and roof repairs to carry the complex through the snow. The plan calls for 18 apartments aimed for lower-income workers on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, along with restaurant and commercial space.

"We have already filed for a repair permit. R&P Oak Hill is the construction manager. So I'm meeting with demo and abatement tomorrow and interior framers to start budgeting, shoring the floors," Carmina says. "There's probably 5,000 square feet of roof that has to come down to be replaced. There's probably about that much square footage of floor."

Carmina says the first building in the group was built as a residence and carriage house in 1840. Other buildings added or changed as the neighborhood makeup changed.

He says there are also some empty adjacent lots the eight developers are trying to buy. The architect says it will be the first completed building in the African American Heritage Corridor, with tenants to move in next fall.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.