The long-vacant Trico Building on the edge of downtown Buffalo and the medical campus may finally get a new use.
Peter Krog – whose Krog Corp. in Orchard Park is one of the area’s leading developers of industrial properties – is meeting with the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. at noon today to propose taking over as the preferred developer for the vast former factory building at Goodell and Washington streets.
Currently, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus itself is the preferred developer of the property at 817 Washington St. The nonprofit entity previously indicated it might seek to demolish the roughly 1 million-square-foot building to expand its highly successful Innovation Center technology incubator next door.
But the medical campus has never formalized any development plan, and the designation from the government agency expires Nov. 16, giving Krog an opportunity to take over.
The developer’s plans for the building were not known Monday, but he is known to be interested in creating an extended-stay hotel to serve the nearby Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Neither Krog nor his top deputy, Peter Neureuter, responded Monday to a request to comment. But BUDC and medical campus officials confirmed that Krog is scheduled to attend the regular monthly meeting of the agency and its subsidiary, the Buffalo Brownfields Restoration Corp., which is the formal owner of the Trico building.
“Trico is always on the agenda, and I understand that someone is supposed to be attending from BNMC and from Krog regarding the designated developer agreement,” said BUDC President Peter Cammarata. “But we have received nothing from them as of yet.”
The potential project marks a turnabout for both Krog and for the derelict building, which has a storied history in Buffalo.
Krog, which owns the former SmartPill building at 847 Main St., had planned to replace that facility with a seven-story mixed-use project, including an extended-stay hotel featuring 120 to 150 rooms.
But in a complex $15 million swap arranged a few weeks ago, Krog agreed instead to sell the building to the medical campus, which in turn plans to add 10,000 square feet of space to house Albany Molecular Research Inc. and another unidentified firm until a more permanent facility can be built for them at Goodrich and Ellicott streets.
In exchange, the medical campus agreed to help Krog and its partner, Hart Hotels, find a different location on the campus for their hotel plans, which they now have exclusive rights to build on the 120-acre campus.
In an unrelated matter, Krog is in a dispute with the City of Lackawanna over the tax bill on a building owned by a company he set up to buy it called G.K. Commerce Drive. That dispute was reported in a story in Monday’s Buffalo News.
As for the former Trico plant, the historic windshield wiper factory was constructed of reinforced concrete in eight stages in the 1920s and 1930s, and was the original headquarters for Trico Products Corp. The first maker of windshield wipers was founded by industrialist John R. Oishei and continued to operate at that facility until 1998, after the company transferred most of its manufacturing work to Texas and Mexico.
Another developer in 2003 proposed reusing the building as a mixed-use residential and commercial building, but after he died, it was purchased by the BNMC, which eventually planned to demolish 95 percent of the building. But preservationists fought back, seeking to have the property designated as having landmark status.