Termini's FWS conversion heads to ECIDA

February 1, 2013 Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 8:38 AM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First

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Termini's FWS conversion heads to ECIDA

February 1, 2013 Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 8:38 AM EDT

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency and developer Rocco Termini will be spending a lot of time together over the next few weeks.

Just three days after hosting a public hearing on Termini's request to seek incentives for the Houk Lofts mixed-use project on Grote Street, the county agency will be holding a second public hearing, focusing on incentives for another of his projects. The ECIDA, on Feb. 8, will hold the hearing on Termini's $16 million proposed makeover of the former FWS Warehouse building on Elmwood Avenue.

The multi-story building, located at 1738 Elmwood Ave., calls for Termini turning the 106,025-square-foot building into a facility anchored by 46 market-rate apartments. Other components in the building, according to documents Termini filed with the agency, include a 7,000-square-foot call center, a 5,000-square-foot tech center, 10,000-square-feet of general office space and a 10,000-square-foot, first floor distillery and restaurant.

The Buffalo Planning Board, earlier this month, approved the project.

Designed by the fabled local architecture firm, Esenwein and Johnson, the circa early 1920s-era building has a number of hidden amenities including a 3,000-square-foot interior courtyard that will be renovated and turned into the centerpiece of the restaurant.

The distillery and restaurant will be separate, but related operations.

Termini said he hopes to start work on the project later this year, after he receives all the necessary municipal approvals and environmental reviews are completed.

Both the Houk Lofts and Distillery Lofts projects are expected to be on the ECIDA's Feb. 19 for a full vote by its board of directors.