Silo City takes first step toward bringing residents to Buffalo River's edge

By James Fink
Buffalo Business First

Rendering of the proposed malthouse project. (Contributed image)

Miami-based investors have put plans in motion for a $65 million residential-anchored development at Silo City overlooking the Buffalo River.

Generations Development LLC plans to convert the circa-1906-era malt house and warehouse complex into 168 apartments, along with 40,000 square feet of office, artists' exhibition and gallery space, and a business incubator. Recent developments:

Oct. 19: the Buffalo Planning Board approved a motion that will allow the project to proceed.

Oct. 23: Generations Development paid $2.8 million for the former American Malting Co. property at 139 Buffalo River Place, according to documents filed in the Erie County Clerk's office. The property was bought from Rigidized Metals Co. president Rick Smith's River Sullivan. Smith is a minority partner and investor in the Generations Development project, which is headed by Miami developers Marvin Wilmoth and Anthony Ceroy.

Oct. 26: Preliminary abatement and some minor demolition work on the malt house began Oct. 26, Wilmoth said. The abatement work within the structures could take as long as five months.

The project is the first phase of a decade-long development plan that could bring as many as 400 apartments and $100 million in private sector investment at the 27-acre Silo City campus, which runs just off Ohio Street and along the shores of the Buffalo River. Many of the silos and buildings being targeted are vacant.

"To me, this is a new chapter in Buffalo's history," Smith said. "We will finally see people living in Silo City."

Wilmoth said the apartments will include studio units through three-bedroom options along with five live/work apartment that combine workspace with living quarters. The project was designed by Carmina Wood & Morris DPC.

Besides the pre-construction steps that took place in the past week, Wilmoth confirmed that Monarch Private Capital from Atlanta will provide the majority of the first phase's funding. Monarch has approved the backing, with JP Morgan Chase agreeing to purchase the notes. Landing both was critical for the project to advance, Wilmoth said.

"Our goal is to make this a destination for Buffalo," Wilmoth said.

This article originally appeared in Buffalo Business First.