2023 Preservation Awards Awardees

Residential Preservation

 

1 Penhurst Park, Buffalo

Built 1909-1910, 1 Penhurst Park was originally the home of James H. & Edna G. Dyett. James was an executive at the family-owned Hard Manufacturing Company, which designed and produced hospital furniture. One of the first houses built on Penhurst Park, it was designed by noted local architect, designer, and painter Robert North. After the Dyetts’ ownership the property was home to Nina Freudenheim, noted local gallerist.

The current owner of 1 Penhurst Park, Adam Perry, is only the third owner and as a result, the residence retains a high level of integrity of its historic character and original features including its stucco exterior, historic windows and doors, lighting fixtures, bathrooms, and even the original dumbwaiter. The recent rehabilitation, which utilized historic tax credits, also included the repair of the original slate roof and copper gutters and downspouts and updates to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and to the kitchens.

The National Register-listed home, a contributing resource to the Elmwood East Historic District, is a prominent visual landmark in the neighborhood, and the incredible rehabilitation project ensures that it will remain part of this historic neighborhood for generations to come.

 

 

Commercial Preservation

 

Nash Lofts, 163-167 Broadway and 64 Nash Street, Buffalo

One of the more unique and challenging preservation projects of late in the City of Buffalo, the Nash Lofts are located on a corner in the heart of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, a designated NYS Heritage Area. Also known as the Dellenbaugh block, the four neighboring buildings that comprise the project were built between c. 1840 and 1922. Vacant for nearly 20 years, the site required extensive stabilization efforts. Utilizing historic tax credits and funding support from the WNY Regional Economic Development Council, the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, and Empire State Development, the $6 million rehabilitation project includes 18 new apartments, 8,000 SF of available commercial space, parking, and office space for the Buffalo Branch of the NAACP. A symbol of hope for the future, the project is an example of historic and continued mixed-use development rooted in the betterment of its community and city.

Spolka Building, 436 Amherst Street, Buffalo

The Spolka Building at 436 Amherst Street is a commercial block constructed from 1916 to 1917 by the Polish American Building Company for tailor Jacob F. Bujarek and was later occupied by men’s clothier Spolka. The Black Rock store held a prominent, decades-long presence in the heart of the Amherst Street business district, directly across the street from the religious heart of the neighborhood—Assumption R.C. Church.

The new storefront replicates the original inset storefront and was designed and installed utilizing the original exterior entryway tile floor. The interior has been rehabilitated as the home of the  Black Rock Historical Society and features exposed brick walls, new museum display cases, and a large open floor plan to accommodate a wide array of public programming. The rehabilitation of 436 Amherst Street not only showcases the history of the neighborhood, but represents the best of what restoration can be for the community.

 

Art’s Café, 5 E Main St, Springville

The Arts Café Building in Springville is the personification of community-led preservation. Located in the center of downtown Springville, 5 East Main Street was built in 1880 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing resource to the East Main-Mechanic Street Historic District. This building is especially notable for the exuberant design of its second-story façade, which features brick piers between bays, round-arched window openings, recessed square brick panels, and a prominent bracketed metal cornice.

After years of neglect, the building’s roof collapsed, taking the second floor with it. But through the leadership and dedication of the Springville Center for the Arts, the rehabilitated building now features an artisan bakery and café with a connected arts workshop, performance venue, fully accessible green roof, and artist residences.

This project was made possible through NYS EPF, Homes & Community Renewal Rural Area Revitalization Project, ESD, NY Main Street and NYS Environmental Facilities Corp funding, and financing assistance was provided by NYS Preservation League EPIP Program, M&T Bank, Local Enterprise Assistance Fund, and Community Investors.

The key ingredient to the success of this transformation was the energy of the community intertwined with courage, tenacity, innovation, creativity, and generosity in all phases of the work – the physical rebuilding, the multi-source funding, the ownership model, fearless investors, volunteers, and the combination of businesses with the arts. The Arts Café’s business structure puts the mission of building community and reinvesting in Main Street first and foremost. What began as a disaster has become a model multi-use rehabilitation project, and a significant community success story and example for the whole region.

 

True Bethel Commons, 1128 South Avenue, Niagara Falls

True Bethel Commons was originally built in 1900 as the Sacred Heart School for the adjacent Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church. A partnership between Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Inc. and True Community Development Corporation, the $15 million project rehabilitated the school into 39 vibrant apartments. All the apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 50% of the Area Median Income, and eight apartments are fully accessible and adapted for people with physical disabilities. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the project utilized historic tax credits and low-income housing tax credits, as well as funding support from NYS Homes and Community Renewal, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, and the city of Niagara Falls. A complement to ongoing public and private revitalization projects in Niagara Falls, the True Bethel Commons project preserves the historic legacy of this landmark while providing quality affordable housing for a new generation.

 

Tugby-Lennon Block,324 Niagara Street, Niagara Falls 

Comprised of several attached historic structures constructed in 1904 and 1909, the historic Tugby-Lennon Block brings new opportunities to the heart of Niagara Falls. Developed and managed by Savarino Companies, the mixed-use project includes three ground-floor commercial units and ten market-rate apartments. The apartments feature original cedar floors, exposed brick walls, and in-unit washers and dryers. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the $3.5 million rehabilitation project utilized historic tax credits, as well as funding support from the USA Niagara Development Corp. (a subsidiary of Empire State Development), the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, National Grid, and NFC Development Corp. Among the few surviving historic mixed-use commercial buildings that were once prevalent along Niagara Street, the Tugby-Lennon Block project revitalizes traditional buildings typologies for continued use in the modern age.

 

Emerging Preservationist

 

John Domres

John Domres, owner of Buffalo Brewing Company, has an admiration and drive for historic preservation, which began in 2014 when he brought life back into an 1890s former foundry at 314 Myrtle Avenue, transforming it into the company’s first brewery. Upon outgrowing the space, John set his sights on the former Schreiber Brewery at 662 Filmore Avenue. In 2021 he started working on rehabbing the long-vacant building, and in October of 2022, he brewed the first beer on the site in 72 years. With only the first phase of the rehabilitation completed, and more projects on the horizon, we raise a glass to his work in preservation and revitalization on Buffalo’s East Side.

Preservation Leadership

 

The Zemsky Family 

The Zemsky family, through their company, the Larkin Development Group, has been working for the past 20 plus years to preserve, renovate and restore buildings in the historic Larkin District in Buffalo.  These efforts have included the redevelopment of the circa 1911 former Larkin Terminal Warehouse, now known as the Larkin at Exchange Building, the circa 1893 Larkin U Building, the 1890s building at 716 Swan Street, now home to the Hydraulic Hearth restaurant and the circa 1900 Schaefer Building. now a mixed-use building.  In addition, the circa 1937 Swan Street Diner was relocated to the Larkin District and fully restored.  Larkin Development Group has also cleaned up neighborhood blight and brownfields. Recent developments have included a series of new infill projects to help return the district back to its former density and vibrancy.

In addition to the development work in the Larkin District, the Zemsky family has supported a variety of preservation projects in the community including the Darwin Martin House, the Richardson Olmsted Campus, Temple Beth Zion and more.  On a smaller scale, their company has helped residential neighbors in the Larkin District with grants to restore the exterior of their homes.

The family is proud to be a multi-generation family business, started by Howard Zemsky’s father Sam and now welcoming a new generation to the business with Kayla and Harry Zemsky and Michael Myers engaged in the continued work of preserving and developing the Larkin District.

 

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