The Frizlen Group, a Buffalo-based architectural firm specializing in urban restoration projects, property development and green architecture, has been chosen to receive a 2011 Preservation Award from Preservation Buffalo Niagara. The award, for rehabilitation/adaptive use, recognizes The Frizlen Group’s restoration project at 257 Lafayette Ave. in Buffalo.
Now known as 257 Lafayette Center, the structure was originally built in 1928 and for decades served Buffalo’s West Side as Annunciation School and later Catholic Academy. The building sat vacant for four-plus years, until business partners Karl Frizlen of The Frizlen Group and contractor Paul Johnson of Johnson & Sons transformed it into a mixed-use building housing 20 occupied apartments and several businesses.
The award will be presented at the annual Preservation Buffalo Niagara luncheon to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Buffalo.
“We saw much potential in the structure of the building,” said Frizlen. “It’s very well built and was ideal for conversion into apartments because the original classrooms were left in place. We didn’t have to demolish any walls or do anything like that.” All of the apartments feature a living room, two bedrooms, a full bath, kitchen and laundry area. Energy Star appliances, 12-foot windows, central ventilation, ceiling fans, storage lofts, bike racks, a security system and on-site parking contribute to a long list of amenities.
According to Frizlen, “The renovation followed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and it is a certified Energy Star building with multiple green and environmental benefits. Among the environmental highlights are a photovoltaic solar panel system to provide approximately 33 percent of the building’s electrical demand, a high-efficiency radiant heating system and high-efficiency electrical fixtures. Additionally, a rainwater collection and bio-retention system collects and purifies parking lot runoff water to irrigate a native plant rain garden.”
Throughout the building there are numerous examples of reuse and restoration. Each apartment unit, for example, features the original chalkboard — tastefully incorporated into the stylish decor — from the classroom that it once was. Original doors and transoms remain in place, while the extra large windows continue to allow significant natural light to enter and brighten the building.
This is not the first time that the work at 257 Lafayette Center has been recognized. In 2010, The Frizeln Group earned the Western New York Green Business Award, a Brick By Brick Award in the category of Best Residential, and a prestigious Historic Preservation Award by the New York State Division for Historic Preservation.
“The Frizlen Group is becoming recognized as the architectural firm of choice for innovative and green urban projects, including restoration projects,” said Frizlen. “We are helping to bring urban streets, like Lafayette Avenue, back to life.”
For more information on The Frizlen Group, located at 257 Lafayette Ave., Suite 102, call 881-0046, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.frizlengroup.com. You can also follow The Frizlen Group on Facebook.