Kolkmeyer plans apartments, hotel for Goodyear Mansion
When developer Paul Kolkmeyer looks at the former Oracle Charter School in Buffalo, he sees a boutique hotel and apartments.
Kolkmeyer, head of Priam Development, wants to convert the Goodyear House at 888 Delaware Ave. – home of the former high school – into a combination of hotel and apartments, with 29 guest rooms and 20 market-rate units.
Located near the Delaware and Bryant Street, that would put the project next to the International Institute of Buffalo and near the former Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo campus that Nick Sinatra and William Paladino are redeveloping into Elmwood Crossing.
Plans for the 64,538-square-foot building call for the hotel units to be located mostly in the former mansion, while apartments would be in the classroom and gymnasium wing, along with the second floor of the historic carriage house. The boutique hotel will likely be called the Goodyear Inn, Kolkmeyer said.
The site currently has 43 parking spaces, which Kolkmeyer said would likely be reserved for the apartment residents. For hotel guests, he’s working to secure off-site valet parking nearby, so that guests would be able to drop off cars at the hotel entrance and request them when needed.
“That’s the same thing that happens at a lot of the hotels downtown here now,” he said.
The building would also include a small fitness center and laundry facilities for residents, while the hotel guests will have a small kitchen and serving area for continental breakfasts, light lunch and cocktails, but not a full restaurant.
The apartments, which will range from 500 to 1,100 square feet, will be aimed at “middle-market” renters, so they won’t be “exorbitantly priced,” he added. He compared them to the 23 micro-units he just completed at Campion Hall, near Canisius College, which average about 450 square feet and are fully occupied.
The $11.4 million project is complicated by the historic nature of the building and by Buffalo’s Green Code, according to a letter from project architect Matthew W. Meier of HHL Architects, who wrote that “compliance with various items” will be challenging since the financing includes historic tax credits.
“Most of the existing site will remain as is,” Meier wrote, except that the front loading dock will be removed and its parking area turned into a lawn. A driveway and concrete sidewalk will be added, along with a handicapped-accessible entrance.
The project will come to the Planning Board on Monday for a public hearing and consideration of a special-use permit, which must also go to the Common Council.
Kolkmeyer said he hasn’t yet closed on the property, which is still owned by the now-defunct charter school, but he’s also contemplating a tax-free exchange by selling another building.
He said he hopes to complete the transaction in June, but still expects several months of delays while waiting for approvals from the State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service to qualify for historic tax credits.
His goal is to start work by the fourth quarter, followed by about 12 months of construction before opening by the end of 2020.
The former Charles Goodyear Mansion at 888 Delaware Ave., most recently the Oracle Charter High School, may become a hotel and apartment complex.