Savarino Companies

Historic District Certification Will Bring Historic Tax Credits to the Cobblestone District

Buffalo Rising


The Cobblestone Historic District is currently only designated at the local level, which means owners who plan rehabbing those properties are not able to utilize the historic tax credit program. Preservation Studios has completed a certification application for the owners of a property at 49 Illinois Street in the Cobblestone District that would enable property owners to access those historic tax credits. The application is currently at National Park Service awaiting their determination.

There have been several other districts in Buffalo that have gone through the same process like the Linwood Historic District and the 500 Block District. These two districts are not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but are rather certified historic districts, which entitles them to the same tax credit benefits of an officially listed district.

Savarino Companies pursued the designation for the building at 49 Illinois Street, which is being transformed from a shuttered factory into Buffalo's newest music venue, Buffalo Iron Works.  The building is owned by a partnership including Sam Savarino, Roger Trettel, Ed Plata, and Dan Mania. The building was built in 1902 for the Queen City Engineering Company, which occupied it until 1965. It was then purchased by Buffalo Wholesale Supply and used until 1993 when it was vacated.

One of the biggest benefits of this certification has yet to be seen, but has all the potential to be great for the aggregation of attached buildings at the corner of Illinois Street and South Park avenue. Portions of this complex date to pre-civil war, when it was used as the Mugridge Steam Bakery. Although currently vacant and neglected, the added benefit of historic tax credits may entice the owner of those properties to either repair/restore the
buildings or sell them to someone who will.

The district boundaries are the same as the local designation from 1994.  The local district was established in response to the plans for the Marine Midland Arena, which demolished two blocks of historic structures. It encompasses the full block of buildings at between Illinois, South Park, Mississippi, and Perry, the cobblestone streets of Baltimore and Columbia, and the Edward M. Cotter fireboat dock.  Savarino Companies has already purchased and renovated several of the properties within the district.

Mike Puma


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