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The former Jansen Bros. Harness Shop built a century ago on Elm Street will be getting new life as an apartment and office building in downtown Buffalo.

Carl and William Paladino, whose Ellicott Development Co. bought 173 Elm St. and two adjacent parcels for $325,000, are planning to convert the four-story building into five market-rate apartments and about 5,000 square feet of office space. The project will come before the Buffalo Planning Board today, and the developer hopes to start construction work in February and finish in May.

The $1.5 million project at Elm and William streets calls for commercial space on the first floor and about one-third of the second floor. That will be occupied by a nonprofit firm that helps train people for job opportunities.

The nonprofit is not currently located downtown but is consolidating several other locations and bringing about 20 to 30 employees to the central business district.

The other half of the second floor will be a 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom apartment, while the two upper floors will have two apartments per floor. Each apartment will be 1,200 to 1,400 square feet and will have two or three bedrooms in each.

Built in 1900, the building with a big “La Nova Pizzeria” billboard was originally owned by the Jansen Bros. Harness Shop, but more recently was owned by Mudpies Children’s Museum. It was acquired in 2008 by Barrett Price for his Bear Metal Works business, with additional plans for a mixture of residential space upstairs.

The 13,824-square-foot brick building sits on 0.11 acres, with two vacant fenced-in lots next to it on Michigan Avenue, which are still open for redevelopment. William Paladino, CEO of Ellicott Development, said the developer could probably construct a 5,000- to 8,000-square-foot building on that part of the overall 1-acre property.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com