A Clarence contracting and development firm plans to clean up and reuse a largely vacant and polluted site along the Niagara River in North Tonawanda for a new five-story apartment building.
Lucian Visone Jr.’s VisoneCo. – which also includes Visone Enterprises and Rock One Development, and previously developed the $20 million River’s Edge complex at 600 River Road – wants to construct a 111-unit apartment building at 624 River Road, on 3.7 acres of land that it owns through its DLV Properties LLC.
The site contains a dated 17,000-square-foot medical office building that was constructed in 1997 and is 70% empty. Visone would replace that with a 148,000-square-foot market-rate apartment complex, after completing a brownfield cleanup of the property that is already underway.
The $20 million building – first unveiled earlier this year – would feature studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments, ranging in size from 750 to 1,300 square feet. It would also include a partially covered parking area on the first floor. Construction is expected to take about 18 months.
Visone plans to ask the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency for $4.98 million in tax breaks for the $23.09 million project. That includes $4.02 million in property tax relief through a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, $814,836 in sales tax breaks for purchases and $145,955 in mortgage-recording tax abatement.
The firm submitted an application for the tax breaks but withdrew it for now, with plans to refile later, according to NCIDA officials. According to the agency, the residential project would qualify because it’s a brownfield and aligns with local planning and development efforts.
Project costs will include $19.31 million for construction, $865,000 for the cleanup, $527,990 for furniture and fixtures, and $2.38 million for professional fees. Funding will come from $19.46 million in bank loans, $3.46 million in equity and a $165,000 Niagara Brownfield Development Loan, according to the initial application that had been submitted.
“The development of this property will be economically unfeasible without your assistance and partnership in this matter due to the high cost of site infrastructure, current and future brownfield monitoring and remediation costs which heavily burden the project,” Visone wrote in the application to the NCIDA.
Visone is already constructing a separate 13,700-square-foot building on the property with nine apartments and two commercial spaces, each about 2,000 square feet in size. It also received a tax break last summer for that $2.9 million mixed-use building.
Santora’s Pizza Pub & Grill had been slated to go in there, but abandoned those plans in favor of opening at Walden Galleria instead.
Both of the new buildings will be connected to the previously constructed 88-unit apartment and townhouse complex at River’s Edge by a public riverfront path.