Construction Commences on Buffalo River Landing, New Mixed-Use Development in Old First Ward Neighborhood

New Apartments on Buffalo River to be completed in 2016

Frontier Development Initiatives (an affiliate of Frontier Group of Companies) and Savarino Companies, owners of mixed-use restoration project at 500 Seneca Street, have begun construction of their next major project: Buffalo River Landing (, a mixed use building consisting of 78 one and two bedroom apartments and first floor commercial space at 1 South Street at the Buffalo River.

The five-story, $18 million structure will feature lower level covered parking, private docks, direct water access and commanding views of the Buffalo River, Lake Erie and the Buffalo skyline. The building will sit at the intersection of Ohio Street and South Street along the recently restored Ohio Street Corridor linking Buffalo’s Outer Harbor to the City’s emerging Canalside district and downtown. The site is across the street from Father Conroy Park and adjacent to the New York State boat launch park.

The project was designed by Chaintreuil Jensen Stark Architects with fidelity to the history and architecture of the Old First Ward neighborhood.

“We want the building exterior to reference the rich heritage of the site” said principal architect Robert Stark, “so the facade will feature unique textures and colors that evoke local industry. The design attempts to create a ‘reference of memory’ of the site.”

”Corten metal cladding will be mixed with flat exterior panels in a pattern that recalls past materials as well as the eave and roof heights of the freight house that used to occupy the site. Vertical stair towers will telegraph their structures through the use of translucent polycarbonate panels that recall the grain unloading structures still seen in ‘elevator alley’ nearby. Even the design of the balconies is purposely industrial” Stark explains.

The waterside foundation of the former Erie Freight House will be left intact as a relic and will serve to anchor the private waterfront promenade between the new structure and the Buffalo River. Items salvaged from the freight house will be incorporated into design elements of the new structure.

Landscaping will feature plants and foliage that are native to the area. Floating docks will be engineered to respect planned shoreline habitat restoration.

Additional features of the apartments include direct connections to walking and bike trails, spacious layouts, an on premises fitness center, bike and kayak storage, gas appliances, state of the art security/access control and optional fireplaces.

“The response for our Hydraulics Lofts residential units at 500 Seneca is has been tremendous. We have every expectation of replicating that success at Buffalo River Landing. We have several folks on a waiting list and we have begun accepting refundable deposits for residential units this week” said Luke Cusack of Savarino Properties, who is serving as Property Manager for both projects. “We are planning on having our first tenants occupy their units in January 2017.”

Units at Buffalo River Landing range in size from 770 to 1,620 square feet. Rents range from $1,104 for a second level one bedroom units to $2,900 for two bedroom penthouse units on the top floor. Now that final permits have been obtained construction has begun in earnest. In the coming weeks steel H-piles will be installed on the site. Structural steel for the building will be erected in May of this year. The building will be fully enclosed this summer.

The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) is providing construction financing as well as an $11.45 million SONYMA-insured permanent loan through the New York State Common Retirement Fund. Interim bridge financing has been provided by Evans National Bank.

“We’re proud to be partnering on another outstanding project with Frontier Development Initiatives and the Savarino Companies that will bring economic activity and high quality housing to an emerging Buffalo neighborhood,” said the Community Preservation Corporation’s President and CEO, Rafael E.Cestero. “At CPC, we believe that investing in new housing opportunities is central to transforming underserved areas into thriving and vibrant communities. I have no doubt that the Buffalo River Landing project will help drive the revitalization and growth of the Old First Ward neighborhood.”

Partners in the project are Savarino Companies CEO Sam Savarino and the principals of Frontier Group of Companies: David Franjoine, Dennis Franjoine and Robert Zuchlewski. Attorney Craig Slater is also a partner.

Savarino Companies is providing development services and serving as General Contractor for the project. Other members of the project team include: Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers (site/landscape consulting), Benchmark Environmental Corporation (environmental engineering), Tredo Engineers (civil and structural engineering), Watts Engineers (remediation/environmental consultants), EBS Engineering (mechanical and electrical engineering), KTA Preservation Consultants and The Slater Law Firm.

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About Frontier Group of Companies:

Founded in 2001, the Frontier Group of Companies brings together strategically aligned businesses with expertise and capabilities in the area of large-scale industrial and commercial facility reuse, repurposing and redevelopment. The companies of the Frontier Group include industry leading operations for industrial demolition, industrial dismantling, asset recovery, equipment repurposing, industrial clean-up, site remediation, brownfield redevelopment, facility acquisition, real estate development, energy exploration, energy production, and materials recycling. More information about the Frontier Group of Companies is available at

About Savarino Companies:

Founded in 2000, Savarino Companies is a full service general contracting, construction management and project development firm. Savarino has completed many noteworthy projects throughout Western New York. Through its affiliate Savarino Properties the firm handles many commercial and multi-unit residential facilities. More information about Savarino is available at

About the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)

Established in 1974, the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) is a nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company that believes housing is central to transforming underserved neighborhoods into thriving and vibrant communities. We provide innovative capital solutions, fresh thinking and a collaborative approach to the often complex challenges that owners and developers of multifamily housing face. To date, CPC has leveraged approximately $9.1 billion in private and public investment to finance more than 164,600 units of affordable housing. Our work with our partners has helped revitalize countless neighborhoods throughout New York, and provided quality housing for families, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities. Follow us at, and on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.