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HOME - HISTORY OF BUILDING - THE ARCHITECTS - ARCHITECTURAL HIGHLIGHTS - POTENTIAL ADAPTIVE REUSES - SLIDESHOW

FOR SALE OR LEASE: 950 BROADWAY - BUFFALO, NY
 


The Eckhardt Building

This beautiful and historic 42,000 square foot building is one of the most frequently overlooked commercial real estate opportunities in the City of Buffalo. It is zoned in the downtown Buffalo Central Business District and offers Empire Zone tax abatement and utilities reduction privileges.

It is steam boiler heated, air conditioned, fully wired and alarmed and has a working sprinkler system. It also offers a straight-ahead drive down Broadway to the downtown core and easy access to routes 33 and 190. It is on a main bus line and has a 50 car fenced parking lot in the rear.

In a survey (pg. 18) documenting the need for the preservation of the many important, yet unofficial east side landmarks, The Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier has this to add regarding this building:

 

“Eckhardt’s/Kobacker’s Department Store at 950 Broadway (1940, Bley & Lyman, architects) is architecturally significant as an excellent example of a largely-intact, early Art Moderne commercial building. Designed by local firm Bley & Lyman for John H. Eckhardt, this sleek building is one of the most significant early Modern buildings surviving in Buffalo. A similar style department store building, the W. T. Grant department store (1939), once stood at Main and Huron Streets in downtown Buffalo (demolished 1980). The building’s curved façade stands out for its design and materials, which include granite, light cream terra cotta and stainless steel. Eckhardt had operated a store at the principal commercial intersection of the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood since the 1880’s. Former tenants of the building include Kobacker’s and Sears department stores. The building is now vacant.”

 

In contrast to the “largely-intact” reference above, you will see by viewing the photographs we took for this article that the only things that are not intact on this building are the proud displays of a new tenant’s corporate logo and the American flag. Minor cosmetic freshening and light cleaning is all that is needed to make it look brand new again.

If you are interested in obtaining complete specifications of the building and the demographics of the area, please visit the following commercial real estate web site listing.

Interested parties may also contact the owners or submit inquiries through us here at Broadway Fillmore Alive!.

For more information and current photographs of this property, please visit the following links:

 THE HISTORY:

 Long-time Broadway merchant John H. Eckhardt commissioned the famed Buffalo architectural firm of Lawrence Bley and Duane Lyman to design a modern structure to house his growing retail business, Eckhardt’s Department Store, at the northwest corner of Broadway and Fillmore, Buffalo’s thriving shopping district.

Photo courtesy of Robert Sienkiewicz – Broadway Fillmore NHS

 

 


Built in 1940 by noted local builders, Metzger Bros. Construction, its architectural style has been recently classified as Art Moderne, an evolution of the Art Deco and Bauhaus movements of the 1920’s and 1930’s.

 

The Eckhardt family had owned this corner and operated general/department stores there since the late 1880’s. As noteworthy in local history as that is, it is especially exceptional that the direct descendants of the Eckhardt family still own and lovingly maintain this beautiful building.

The last two tenants moved out of this building in 2004. The New York State Department of Labor configured the 1st floor for its regional office, and a neighborhood based education and job training program, 78 Restoration Corporation, configured the 2nd floor for its offices and classrooms. The finished basement and unfinished 3rd floor (originally used for inventory/storage) have not been used for decades and are in pristine condition.

In homage to their fine family heritage, the current owners are sincerely interested in protecting the integrity of this building and have turned down offers that would have threatened its survival. Their dedication to this effort is extremely rare and must be commended. It is solely because of them that we still have this important part of Buffalo’s history, and living example of great design and craftsmanship to appreciate and admire.

THE ARCHITECTS:

Coming home to Buffalo after the war, Duane Lyman formed a partnership with Lawrence Bley that lasted twenty years. The new Tudor Revival Saturn Club was one of the first commissions to come their way. Many would list it as the best building Lyman designed (see also Bley Lyman & Lansing). Among other works are over 100 school buildings, many churches, and numerous large city and suburban houses.

At a time when earnest modernist architects of the International Style sought to express the new age in buildings inspired by industrial design and made of the new materials of plate glass and steel, Lyman celebrated the warm textures of the traditional materials of brick, stone and wood and the reassuring feeling of the past. A talented conservative, Lyman could design in a variety of historical styles with finesse; his buildings always display fine craftsmanship and good taste.

Buildings designed by Lyman in Buffalo include the following:

*Story courtesy of Chuck LaChiusa from the website “Buffalo as an Architectural Museum”

 ARCHITECTURAL HIGHLIGHTS:

EXTERIOR

  • 84 flush mounted sidewalk windows begin at the Broadway edge and wrap around the graceful corner curve to the complete length of the Fillmore side, and include 1 large, 4 window-pane length sidewalk display room facing each street. The windows are trimmed below with beautiful brown polished granite tiling.
  • To add visual interest to the tall, smooth walls, a row of 16 split level windows face Broadway on each of the 2nd and 3rd  floors, and a row of 60 triple paned windows face Fillmore on each of the 2nd and 3rd floors. The sashes are made of cast iron.
  • Above the sidewalks on both streets and around the corner is a lighted, protective canopy trimmed in ribbed stainless steel. The canopy extends further out on the rounded corner, emphasizing the circular shape and protecting the window shoppers who used to check out the merchandise that filled the corner display windows.
  • A main stainless steel trimmed 4 door (double-doored) entrance foyer faces Broadway and there is another entrance foyer on Fillmore. The foyers are trimmed in brown polished granite and each feature decorative brass radiator grills.
  • Above the canopy, the exterior façade is trimmed in light cream terra cotta tiles, with light pink terra cotta tiles inlaid in a horizontal stripe rising to form a tall loop on the rounded corner and a smaller loop on the Fillmore side. The corner loop is a feature that is specifically designed to attract the eye to the applicable company logo/name.
  • There are 3 other single door entranceways: 1 on the north side of Fillmore, and 2 on each side of the 50’ X 50 service garage.
  • The rear façade of the building and the service garage are constructed of red brick and cement.
  • There are 2 cement planter boxes, each containing trees on the Broadway and Fillmore sidewalks.

INTERIOR

  • The center portion of the 1st floor is carpeted and is sectioned off for office cubicles and conference rooms (all walls are removable).
  • Visible on the perimeter of the 1st floor and underneath the carpeting is the original pink and gray speckled linoleum floor. There are linoleum floors on the 2nd floor and in the basement. The 3rd floor’s concrete flooring remains unfinished. All floors are in remarkable, original condition.
  • The large sidewalk display rooms both having locking doors.
  • There are single basement to 3rd floor concrete/steel staircases: 1 at the southwest corner, 1 at the northwest corner, 1 at the middle of the Fillmore side and 1 at the southeast corner. There is a working elevator towards the southwest corner.
  • In the middle of the west wall, there is a beautiful marble, double wraparound staircase that runs from the basement (stainless steel doors form the basement foyer) to the 3rd floor. There is a stainless steel railing topping the stairs’ sides. Currently enclosed by temporary walls on the 1st and 2nd floors, these walls can easily be removed. The staircase is also in remarkable condition, having been unused for decades.
  • There are 10 tiled bathrooms, 2 in the basement, 2 each on the 2nd and 3rd floors and 4 on the 1st floor. All tiling and fixtures are in pristine condition

*Note: Please visit the commercial real estate web site listing to obtain dimensions and operating features.

 POTENTIAL ADAPTIVE REUSES:

  • Mid-size Retail Store (ie. Gander Mountain, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel etc.)

  • Schoolhouse/Day Care facility

  • Library

  • Office Space

  • Light Industry/Manufacturing

  • Lofts/Condominiums

  • Gallery/Museum/Artist’s Space

  • Restaurant/Nightclub

  • Fitness Center

  • Mixed Use

 


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