New life for Buffalo’s outer harbor

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Developer Gerry Buchheit, who’s first job was a sweeper at the General Mills plant in Buffalo, is about to embark on a $40 million dollar project to turn the old Freezer Queen plant into luxury apartments.

“It should be a great opportunity for the waterfront to finally develop on the Outer Harbor,” said Buccheit, as he took in the site from Buffalo’s Small Boat Harbor, just a short distance away.

There will be as many as 120 luxury apartments, with restaurants and retail stores on the first floor.

A seventh floor will be added for penthouse apartments.

“We’re going to take the outer skin off of it. Make it solid glass, with spectacular views from every apartment,” he said

The plant closed in 2006, leaving 175 workers without jobs.

Gerry Buchheit bought it for $3 million dollars in 2007 and was waiting for the right time to do something special with it.  The time is now.

“Buffalo is becoming a better city. The medical corridor is growing and a lot more people are moving to town. Professionals are going to want to be in a place like this.”

The inside of the vacant plant appears to be frozen in time. Buccheit pumped a lever on a paper towel machine so a videographer could wipe his lens. Parts of the interior are gritty.

Old equipment still stands when the plant produced TV dinners. It was built in the 1950’s.

There is wide open space inside, and the building is rock solid.

“The ceiling is going to get totally cleared. Going to have very high ceilings and beautiful apartments with a spectacular view here,” said Buchheit.

Looking out a window to the south, there was a fine view of the Small Boat Harbor and the hills of the Southern Tier.

The project could begin as early as the Fall, with occupancy expected by the Spring of 2017.

It is quite an undertaking for a man who started with very little in Buffalo.

“I started from basics. My parents worked hard. We worked hard. And it would be nice to make a mark on Buffalo,” he said.

He agreed that his is truly a Buffalo story.

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