By Jason Yots
As some of you know, Preservation Studios is pursuing the purchase of Hook & Ladder No. 12, a decommissioned 1913 firehouse located in Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood. This started as a mixed-use project that would have included loft apartments and offices for Preservation Studios and my law firm, Yots Law Firm P.C. Several months ago, we presented this initial concept to the City (which owns the building) and the trade association and planning group that serve the neighborhood, and then began preliminary work (like design, cost estimating and financing). Several designs and financial proformas later, we concluded that housing would not be our best use of the building and that, in any event, it was not a financially feasible use in the current commercial credit environment.
So, we returned to the drawing board and developed the concept for The Sustainable Preservation Exchange at Ladder 12, a mixed-use facility that will include offices for Preservation Studios and Yots Law Firm, as well as a green building architecture firm and a green building supply company (When lease negotiations are done, we'll post their info). The SPX also will include a conference/gallery/event facility that will be available to tenants and community groups for meetings, presentations, art installations, parties, etc. We also are planning a monthly lecture series on historic preservation, green building and sustainable living topics.
OK, here's the fun part: we will chronicle the SPX development process from conception to completion in regular posts to this blog. Unlike news articles that announce a project's groundbreaking and then next cover the ribbon cutting, this will be a behind-the-scenes, blow-by-blow account of our development experience. In short, this will be the good, the bad and the ugly of an historic rehab project in an emerging urban neighborhood. We hope that, in the end, you will understand our successes, learn from our mistakes and laugh with us (or at us) along the way.