But here's a twist: Put those lofts at the western end of the Erie Canal and what blossoms is likely to be resurgence for a small city in Niagara County.
Predicting is hazardous, but if recent experience provides any guidance, then Kissling's loft-style apartment building, Remington Lofts on the Canal, in the City of North Tonawanda, should be a success. Of the 81 residential units, about 10 have already been reserved.
Remington Lofts on the Canal is a $28 million work-live project that the developer is hoping will be home to employees of other tenants: a salon and cosmetology school, a yoga studio, personal training and a white tablecloth restaurant serving sushi. What's not to love?
There's something about the aura that appeals to people, as urban planning professor Ernest Sternberg of the University at Buffalo said. Whether it's the young or recently retired, it's about urban living in an interesting space that cannot be re-created in suburban neighborhoods.
Some have tried to recapture that spirit, but this area doesn't have to make faux loft-style industrial buildings. We've got plenty of riches right here, as developers who have branched out with various downtown Buffalo loft projects have found. There's a real demand from young professionals and empty-nesters. Add to that the ambiance of the Erie Canal and it equals a winning equation.
North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt told a News reporter that the lofts will be right at home in the small city known for its quaint Webster Street storefronts. His view meshes with what Sternberg calls the start of a turnaround.
Webster Street has no vacancies with relatively low rent but quite a bit of activity and character with the Riviera Theatre, where it's often difficult to find parking. This area is not truly a suburb of Buffalo but a small industrial city in its own right, and one that is slowly reinventing itself.
Remington Lofts on the Canal should serve as a key catalyst in that effort.