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Where history meets pure luxury

Written by Jane Trabert Schmitt
Imagery by Sandra Kicman

Oh, to go back in time to the millinery district in Buffalo, a bustling part of the city in the early 1900s when manufacturers worked day and night to meet the demands of fashionable men and women who wouldn’t dream of stepping out without donning a hat.
Sinclair, Rooney & Co. was a big part of
the scene back then, a well-known hat maker in a yellow brick building on a street corner in the Central Business District. Times have changed and the company is long gone, but the six-story building still stands tall on that corner. Just last year it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
    These days it’s called The Sinclair, a choice residence for everyone from 20-somethings to baby boomers and empty nesters. Luxury one- and two-bedroom apartments developed by Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation are in
high demand as people rediscover the appeal of a city lifestyle.
    “This building has historical importance that drew us in throughout the entire design process,” explained Colette Sendor of ZDesign Inc., who assisted Ciminelli on the project. “When you get inside and start looking at the amount of detail in the building, that’s really what we wanted to draw upon – the original staircase, the tall baseboards, the ironwork, the railings ...”
    Designed in the Commercial Style by Esenwein & Johnson architects, the building dates to 1910 and features brick pilasters capped by ornamental brick brackets. The upper floors boast 45 loft apartments, part of a historic adaptive reuse project that was completed in June 2016.
    “It’s absolutely stunning,” Sendor said. “I think this is one-of-a-kind here in Buffalo.”  The Sinclair stands out with the quality of the products and materials that were used. We wanted to enhance the upscale feel that the building already had.
     “A lot of the design is in the details – the patterns, the cabinetry, the lighting. We did hardwoods throughout and lots of tile and high-end carpeting to bring more of a richness to the design,” she said. “Each unit is open, light and airy with high ceilings and exposed ductwork, but all of them are different as far as the layout goes.”
    The Sinclair offers easy access to downtown amenities such as theaters, museums and restaurants. City views  at every turn add to the appeal of these apartments, added architect Amber Holycross, Senior Development Manager at Ciminelli.
    “We were definitely going for a more luxury look,” she said.  “I think that comes across in the finishes, the lighting fixtures, the color palette. We did these great raised-panel doors, solid wood. ... We kept the ceiling beams exposed so you can see the original structure.
    The decor is neutral in shades of cream, gray and taupe, providing a streamlined backdrop just waiting to be personalized with a tenant’s furniture and accessories.
    The Sinclair is yet another example of the City of Buffalo’s recovery from its Rust Belt past to a place buzzing with new energy and new investment.
    “Every time you do one of these residential projects, it brings new life,” Holycross said.  “It brings people back to the city and spurs development around it because people want to not only live down here but shop and eat around here.” 

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