Nine apartments are available in The Verrazzano, a recently renovated century-old building on Third Street. Two storefronts of three are also available, according to developer Robert Nuchereno.
Nuchereno, owner of Arista Development in the Town of Tonawanda, has led the renovation on the building, which is located at 531 Third St. near Main Street.
During a recent tour of the building, Nuchereno estimated that he spent about $1 million on the renovations, after purchasing the building for about $10,000 from the city and paying $75,000 in back taxes. During the tour through the building, he pointed out all the restored hardwood door frames and flooring in the building he and his team have been renovating since this past summer.
Nuchereno, a commercial real estate developer, has a variety of other projects he's developed in the region, including an office park in Amherst, six Tim Hortons buildings and just recently, a commercial plaza in Rochester with Reeds Jewelers as a tenant.
He credits his associate, Mike Santa Maria, a Niagara University graduate, as being the reason he purchased the long-empty building.
Santa Maria said he was taken with the potential of the building the first time he saw it. "I drove by it and it caught my eye," he said adding, "I’ve always believed in this city and that it is so close to being something great and special."
Nuchereno said he also owns the vacant Bank of America building on Third Street in Niagara Falls and is looking to convert that building into a hotel. He plans to begin work on that project in the next year or two.
When asked about his experience as a developer in Niagara Falls, Nuchereno gave kudos to city officials. "They've been great," he said.
Mayor Paul Dyster complimented the renovations, noting the apartments offer a nice mix of options to renters. The Verrazzano has two studio apartments, five one-bedrooms, two two-bedrooms and one "really gorgeous three bedroom," the mayor said.
The mayor added that "the way the building faces you can see the mist coming off Niagara Falls."
Dyster said the city gave The Verrazzano some assistance. "The city has a program for subsidizing market rate apartments where we give up to ten thousand per unit and I believe they received $100,000 from that fund."
Dyster noted the importance of new apartment spaces in downtown Niagara Falls, which he said draws amenities like restaurants and shops, which in turn draw more people who want to live downtown. "We have a shortage of apartments in the downtown area so as quickly as they come online they tend to get gobbled up and that’s a good thing because we want more people living downtown," he said.
The city is leasing one of three storefronts on the first floor of the building, and one of the 10 apartments has been rented, but nine others are currently available for occupation Dec. 1.
Prices range from $850 up to $1600 for the units which range from efficiency to the three-bedroom unit which has private laundry and spacious 1,300 square-feet of living space.
For more information, call 633-9111.