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Downtown Reconversion Project Moves Ahead

Renovations aimed at transforming the former Spaghetti Warehouse building on Elm Street into a mixed-use, historic restoration effort crossed a major milestone, courtesy of Buffalo's primary economic development agency.

The Buffalo Urban Development Corp.'s directors approved a $500,000 bridge loan to TM Montante Development LLC to help finance the $8 million makeover of the circa 1878 former restaurant into a building anchored by 25 apartments and 12,000-square-feet of commercial space. The funds came from a $3 million state-financed "City by City" pool designed for economic development projects in Buffalo.

The loan was unanimously approved.

The Planing Mill, named after the building's roots as the E.M. Hager and Sons mill operations, was selected from a short list of six projects reviewed by BUDC staff and a community committee. The project and its funding are one of the first to take hold under the Buffalo Building Reuse Project initiative announced last year by Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. It was selected on several factors including project readiness and adaptive re-use.

"All of the projects had some merit," said David Stebbins, BUDC vice president.

The bridge financing is crucial to TM Montante securing permanent financing and historic tax credits.

"It is huge for us," said Tim Vaeth, TM Montante Development president. "It allows us to go full steam ahead."

Vacant for many years, the building has been home to the former Spaghetti Warehouse and an urban night club in more recent times.

TM Montante bought the building last year with the mixed-use development in mind.

Vaeth said he believes the building will be tenant-ready by next year.

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