The Savarino Companies has completed the redevelopment of the Tugby-Lennon block, a collection of century-old outbuildings at 320-324 Niagara Street, near the developing Third Street neighborhood. The three-storey buildings, which suffered from neglect for years before Savarino’s intervention, date from 1904 and 1909, are among the only remaining examples of a dense commercial and residential neighborhood on one of the city’s oldest streets.
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“We share a vision with the City of Niagara Falls, Niagara County, and the Empire State to develop a charming, walkable, mixed-use downtown that enhances the tourism experience and improves the quality of life for Niagara Falls residents,” said Courteney Samuels-Cox. Vice President of Development at Savvarino. “The Savarino Companies are grateful to have advanced this vision with the Tugby-Lennon redevelopment.”
Daredevil Records would be the first commercial tenant, with a retro record store and “listening lounge” in a new storefront at 324 Niagara. The store will offer vintage records for sale, while allowing patrons to sit and listen to music on “various return devices”—cassette players and records—and enjoy refreshments such as beer, wine, and food.
Additional space is available and ready for other tenants in two remaining 1,500 square foot storefront lots at 320 and 322 Niagara. Similar to the apartments, these spaces also offer original exposed brick walls, numerous windows and an outside front patio.
Located between Third and Fourth Avenues, the three buildings are a nod to the late 19th and early 20th century architecture, commercial history, and community development in Niagara Falls. It originally housed upscale residences on the upper floor, while the first floors housed businesses ranging from restaurants and salons to a fashion shop, barbershop, piano shop, and men’s shop.
The Lennon Block was built by general contractor and developer John Lennon in 1904, while Thomas Tugby, a prominent businessman and early settler in the city, commissioned the Tugby Building in 1909 on a wide lot between the Lennon and Courtney blocks.
“The opening of the Togbe Lennon Block continues the progress we’ve been working on in our downtown area,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino. “While market-add condo prices contribute to our steady growth for downtown housing, we are very pleased to see Daredevil records in the commercial space of the building. It is the growth in our commercial corridor that is vital to downtown.”
The project was supported by a $145,000 Niagara Economic Development Fund grant from USA Niagara Development Corp. It is a subsidiary of Empire State Development Corp. Savarino also used state and federal historical tax credits, a $155,000 Niagara County Industrial Development Agency tourism grant, a $100,000 grant. from the National Grid and a $40,000 grant from NFC Development Corp.
“These buildings are among the few surviving structures from the dense, mixed-use commercial and residential environment that once characterized Niagara Avenue,” said USAN President Anthony Vilardo. “We commend the Savarino Companies for recognizing the historic significance of the block and for completing this mixed-use rehabilitation project.”