Renovations of historic Salamanca building nearing completion | Cattaraugus County
SALAMANCA – As renovations breathe new life into the historic Nies Block building, the project is coming to an end.
Located at the corner of Main and River Streets, the building will provide the community with additional housing and retail space. Owner Gary Marchiori said the building, located at 63-75 Main Street, is now River Place Salamanca and the rental units upstairs are called River Place Apartments.
Marchiori’s intentions are to have retail stores and a restaurant on the ground floor accessible from the lobby. He said the upstairs apartments will be quiet and modern housing for people.
“We want to attract people who live and / or work in Salamanca and want more modern accommodation,” he said.
Marchiori said renovations are continuing upstairs, but 10 of the 18 apartments are fully completed and occupied. He said they will likely have four more completed by February.
Significant upgrades have been made, Marchiori said, including new kitchens with stainless steel appliances, ceiling fans, new lighting, new smoke detection equipment and building alarm systems.
Everything in the shared laundry room on the second floor has been replaced, Marchiori said. Ceramic tiles replaced the old flooring in the hall and entryways on the second and third floors, as well as several of the kitchens and bathrooms.
The old electric heating was replaced throughout the building with modern and efficient electric heating and a new HVAC system was installed, explained Marchiori. The lobby now has a working elevator and a mural commemorating the building’s construction in 1891.
Marchiori brings to life some of the beautiful historic elements of the building, including the prismatic glass of the transoms on the first floor, the iron columns and some pilasters. He said it’s unfortunate that many of these items, along with a central elevator and staircase, were removed in the last renovation in the 1980s.
Other major jobs include washing, repointing and restoring bricks last summer. He said all exterior windows have been replaced except for the building’s original windows which have been restored in place. Most of the hardwood floors have been preserved, along with the plastered ceilings and walls which were mostly intact.
Marchiori said work was still underway on the first floor with the arrival of new commercial tenants. He said over 60% of the first floor is now rented and 50% is occupied by the Silver Bells Holiday Shop. He said another retail store is moving to 67 Main which is already renovated.
Future upgrades include a new roof and indirect lighting for commercial signage. He is also working with the city on parking and access to the building.
“Our desire for the city center is to have a little cafe, sandwiches and light food at number 63, which is closest to the (Allegany river). We then work on this renovation, ”he said. “This unit is directly connected to the lobby through its glass doors, so residents can use the cafe as a place for breakfast and lunch.”
Marchiori said the building was previously owned by the Rural Revitalization Corporation, a non-profit housing agency in Olean. With the approval of the State of New York, he acquired the building and made it private property. He said the initially estimated $ 500,000 restoration project will almost double in total improvements. A grant of $ 450,000 from the Empire State Development Corporation helped fund the project.
His interest in historic renovation and the opportunity to manage a project like this prompted him to purchase the building constructed by Charles Nies in 1891. He said the building is currently in the final stages of historic designation with the National Park Service.
Marchiori purchased the building in September 2018 and work began very slowly with the apartments dismantled shortly after. He uses a combination of local and Buffalo contractors and has two full-time employees, Jeremy Pearl and Tim Waite, who work primarily on the apartments.
“It’s been over three years of work and we are continuing, but all the apartments will be completed this year along with the renovations of the first floor,” he said.
Marchiori is hoping for a grand opening this summer when the renovations are expected to be completed. He said real estate agency Todd VanDyke in Great Valley is coordinating the rental work for the 18 units which are mostly one-bedroom apartments.
“This is a positive point for downtown Salamanca and we are certainly trying to make it a success,” he said of the revitalized building. “I think the residents were happy with the changes and we get a lot of inquiries. The upside is that the location is a downtown walkout so residents can walk to the post office, bank, and supermarket which are all a few blocks away.
Although Marchiori is not originally from western New York State, he has lived in Amherst since 1983 and has said his interest in the Southern Tier has been long standing. He is president of EnergyMark LLC, in Williamsville, and works primarily in the energy industry with the distribution of natural gas and electricity. In addition to the Nies Block building, he owns a few properties in the town of Humphrey and Ellicottville.