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Barcalo Buffalo development in Old First Ward gets $500K state boost

225 Louisiana St. in South Buffalo.
Schneider Real Estate
This real estate advertisement for retail tenants shows the vast complex at 225 Louisiana St. being converted into Barcalo Buffalo.

Buffalo's Old First Ward is a neighborhood unto itself which is suddenly a hot community for development. Now a giant green roof is coming to The Ward.

Along Louisiana Street in perhaps Buffalo's oldest community is the badly aging complex that built the Barcalounger before moving to other cities in other places and into bankruptcy. The complex is now being reworked into apartments, light industrial and commercial space called Barcalo Buffalo.

"This will be a mixed use facility, so it's not going to be a predominantly commercial building," said architect and developer Karl Frizlen. "It will be to 85% mixed-use facility and we have residents living there. Probably we have over 116 apartments, so it will be over 200 people living there, 200-250 people. So you have to provide some amenities."

Frizlen said it's a $35 milllion project to be finished in 2023. He said it will have amazing views — running as far as Canada — from the upper floors and the building's green roof, which is environmentally friendly.

"The green roof has tremendous benefits because it absorbs a lot of water. So there's less runoff," he said. "And that's why these grants are also given out, because it puts less burden on the municipal combined sewer system."

Albany is putting $500,000 into the project for green infrastructure pieces of Barcalo Buffalo, including the green roof, landscaping and other water retention projects to ease the load on the overloaded sewer system.

Frizlen said it's a really challenging project.

"A large manufacturing facility with a very gigantic footprint and it's an conglomeration of eight buildings that were all put together over a span of 20 years, late 19th century, early 20th century. The first building was built around 1895 and then the last one around 1920," he said.

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.