Savarino Companies

Restoration Project Saves White Livery

WIVB Website

7/7/2009

Buffalo, N.Y. (WIVB) - More than a year has passed since developers stepped in with plans to transform a crumbling west side building into a multi-million dollar apartment complex. so are those plans coming to fruition?

When the walls of the old White Livery slowly started caving in last year and city officials ordered an emergency demolition, it looked as if another Buffalo landmark was about to bite the dust.

But neighbors mobilized to hold onto the 19th century building, and the landmark was saved.

Summer Street homeowner Catherine Herrick led many of the protests.

Herrick said, "It was a beautiful building. It still is a beautiful building, as far as I am concerned. It is a shell of a building, but it has some historical value."

Developer Sam Savarino saved the White Livery from the wrecker's ball, although it is hard to tell from what's left.

Savarino's $3.2 million restoration project saves the historic facade and elevator shaft, but the rest of the building will be practically all new from the ground up, with parking on the first floor and 14 apartments on the second and third.

Savarino told News 4 the cheaper option was complete demolition, "or whether you could save some parts for further development later. It was the latter course of action that ended up being chosen by the city, and so now you at least have some bones you can work with for a new development project."

Bunny Roberts and her husband were routed from their home by one of the unstable walls at the edge of their property.

In a year, Bunny has already lost her husband Harold, and doesn't want to lose the historic jewel.

Roberts said, "it is going to be different to have somebody living right next to my backyard, which I did not have before. It will be nice to see the improvement."

Project Coordinator Kevin Hays said, "preserve as much of the architectural features as we could, and then, based on the original profile, rebuild, embracing the character of the building, but with a new use."

Savarino has made some changes since he first bought the white livery, scaling back from luxury apartments to affordable one and two-bedroom units.

He also found out the building was once a gas station, and now the underground storage tanks have to be removed. with city approval, construction could start by this fall.



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