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105 new luxury apartments approved for former Pierce Arrow building

Construction on 105 apartments in the former Pierce Arrow office complex along Elmwood Avenue in North Buffalo could start within a month, with final approval Monday from the city Planning Board.

The project has been in the works for a decade, with various designs and various developers at various times. Now, Dr. Gregory Daniel says the $30 million project is a go.

Daniel says it will be "luxury living" in a market-rate apartment complex, with rents somewhere between $1,700-$1,900 for a variety of loft designs, some described as unique. When complete by late summer of next year, it will have indoor parking, an interior restaurant and small store in what Daniel says will be a walkable community.

"Resident comes home. It's sort of difficult to say you want to go out when you have two feet of snow sitting on the ground," he says. "So one of the things we want to do is ensure that the residents of those apartments actually have a place where they can congregate, where they can create relationships and where they can really have a good lunch or a good dinner."

Common Councilmember Joe Golombek told the the Planning Board he strongly backed the plan and it shows the Green Code can work.

"Mr. Hecht has met with the Good Neighbor Planning Alliance, the Grant Amherst Block Cluster and a couple of agencies as well as one-on-one meetings with myself and some of the neighbors," Golombek said, "and I can speak with confidence that the majority, if not all, of the neighbors that we have met with have been very, very supportive of this project."

Joseph Hecht has been a constant in all the possible development works. He says about half will be one-bedroom units and apartment size goes up from there.

"They look like three-story loft apartments, with open living and one penthouse that's going to wrap around the top of the building," Hecht says. "It's going to be nice. There are some very unique apartments. It's a rehab, so we had to sue the space the best we can with what we had, given the parameters. So there will be no more than a handful of some very unique apartments."

It will be visible to passersby because the current parking in the front will be replaced by landscaping and trees, designed after what was there when the century-old complex was built.

Developer Nick Sinatra has been working on a separate project for apartments in the manufacturing buildings, which are located behind Pierce Arrow's former administrative building, running toward Delaware Avenue. It is another piece of a new neighborhood near a series of new projects from developer Rocco Termini.

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.
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