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New meets old in Fenton Village
There were more than a few naysayers when Nick Sinatra announced plans for an ambitious redevelopment project in a dilapidated building at Main and West Ferry streets in Buffalo.
Turns out his vision was spot-on: The so-called Fenton Village – a mix of luxury apartments and trendy commercial space – is 100 percent leased and there’s even a waiting list of people who want to get in on the action there.
“It’s pretty remarkable,” said Sinatra, president of Sinatra & Company Real Estate. “When I bought this building, nobody believed in it. They thought I was crazy. … but they turned out to be wrong.”
What he saw was a historic building with good bones, impressive character and a prime location for young professionals, empty-nesters and others inspired by city living and walkable communities.
Built in 1900 as the Fenton Hotel, it welcomed guests as Buffalo hosted the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, a world’s fair that attracted eight million visitors. Sinatra & Company gutted the building to its masonry frame and rebuilt it with first-floor retail space and loft-style apartments with modern amenities. It’s part of a series of buildings that make up Fenton Village.
“We tried to maintain as much of the historical integrity of the building as we could as we refurbished or replaced materials,” said Sinatra, whose real estate portfolio includes numerous local projects. “Two really neat attributes that we tried to save were the brick – every apartment has some exposed, original brick – and the windows. They’re eight feet tall. We spent a lot of money restoring the original wood frames and then replaced the glass.”
Adding to the appeal is a mix of original and new hardwood flooring, gourmet kitchens with granite countertops and beveled cabinetry, and bathrooms featuring subway tile in classic black-and-white.
Sinatra calls Fenton Village a “hallmark project” for his company.
“People love to have the old and the new intertwined. They want brand-new stainless steel appliances and commercial-grade kitchens but they also want a building that has some character to it. … There’s some real depth, some real character to buildings in and around the city,” he said. “That’s the beauty of this project – the integrity of the buildings; the historic bones, if you will, are celebrated but the finishes
are very modern.”
“It’s a flagship project. And I live here, so for me, it’s more than just a development –
it’s my home.”