NIAGARA FALLS – Plans to renovate six apartments and open a locally owned coffee and sandwich shop in the Third Street area received grant funding on Wednesday from the city.
The NFC Development Corp., the city’s banking arm, approved a total of $120,000 in funding for the three renovation projects:
• Turning a building at 444 Third St. into Cataract Coffee & Marketplace, a proposal from the property owner, Michael F. Lewis, and two business partners.
• Four apartments at 454 and 460 Third St. by property owners John Giusiana and Craig Avery.
• Two apartments above the former Unc’s bar at 223 Ferry Ave., a project proposed by the owner of the property, Paul Stephen.
“We feel like this is a strong investment with people that have experience in what they’re doing,” said Seth A. Piccirillo, director of the city’s Community Development Department.
Lewis said he recently purchased 444 Third for $122,500, and would co-own the business with Joseph Hotchkiss and Kyle Bajor, according to the grant application. The building currently houses an office of the state Division of Parole.
Lewis received a $10,000 grant as property owner to help with renovations, and the business received a $10,000 grant for startup costs.
The project also was approved for a $10,000 grant for facade work through the city’s commercial facade program.
Lewis is a partner in Living Wellness of Niagara, a health and wellness center on Main Street.
“I’ve always wanted to open a coffee shop,” he said.
The four apartments coming to 454 and 460 Third will be more than 1,000 square feet in size, Giusiana said.
Renovations on the apartments are expected to be complete within two months.
Giusiana and Avery received a $40,000 grant through the city’s rental rehabilitation program, $10,000 for each unit.
They also received $20,000 through the city’s commercial facade program, with plans calling for the refurbishment of the front and rear of the building.
The ground-floor commercial space will become two or three storefronts, they said.
The third project in the Third Street area involves two apartments – of 1,400 and 1,800 square feet – above the former Unc’s, which Stephen said he expects to have completed in two months.
His project was awarded $20,000 from the city’s rental rehabilitation program. It also received a $10,000 facade grant.
Stephen, who also purchased 221 Ferry, the former Bragg’s bar, also received a $10,000 facade grant for that building.
Stephen said he is looking to lease the ground floor commercial space in both buildings.
NFC Development on Wednesday also approved a $10,000 grant for Kin Dronic Inc.
Owner Deanna Kindron said her Outer Beauty Salon & Boutique has been open about three months at Buffalo Avenue and 74th Street.