As Reported In Business First's Custom Built Home Renovations Insert- March 25, 2011

“From single-family homes to townhouses, from senior housing to multi-families, we do it all,” says David Burke of Burke Homes. It doesn’t end there; at Burke Homes, we believe in building to fit our customer’s specification, to meet or exceed their expectations. Partners David Burke and Thomas Adymy have applied this philosophy to target their clients’ needs and desires, making their company a truly customized builder.

The Burke family has building homes and developing neighborhoods for over 50 years and two generations of Burkes. Their reputation of impeccable craftsmanship was handed down from Edmund Burke to his son David, who has been building homes in Western New York for over 30 years. David’s dedication to excellence and attention to detail, coupled with outstanding customer service, produces the finest home money can buy.

“We definitely offer a diverse portfolio of services,” says David. “For that reason, we appeal to a wide range of clientele. The variety in our work keeps us fresh and on the cutting edge. That’s very important in this ever-changing and competitive business. We have an in-house carpentry crew and our trim and framing crews are highly skilled and do amazing work. Because of this, we can control scheduling and the volume of our work.” David goes on to say “Regardless of the number of jobs that we have going on at any one time, we’re totally involved in each one and take a personal stake in each client.”

Whether you’re in Hamburg, Angola, Amherst, Lancaster, Tonawanda or Buffalo, you’re bound to come across a Burke- built home. This location and style diversity brings a price range that is suitable to a wide range of individuals.

Sherwood Meadows Townhomes

Burke Homes is very excited to introduce their newest community to the market- Sherwood Meadows Townhomes in Hamburg, NY. Located on a quiet stretch of road, the unique Craftsman style design shines with stone accented exteriors, covered front porches, and tapered columns. As added bonuses, each unit is built to Energy Star® guidelines, has an attached two car garage, and full basements with 8 foot ceilings. Starting in the low $200’s, Sherwood Meadows provides a variety of floor plans including ranch and first floor master suites which are sure to suit every need, and range from 1,557 square feet to 2,158 square feet. Come and visit the three models at 3750 Heather wood Drive Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm weekly or by private appointment.

Colvin Estates

If you have driven down Colvin Avenue in the past year, you may have noticed some construction beginning between St. Lawrence and Taunton Avenue. Located on 23 acres of an old railroad corridor, the vacant land will soon be turned into a 126 single family home community named “Colvin Estates”. Phase I is slated to begin in the summer of 2011, which will consist of 22 homes.

David Burke feels there is a large demand for new single family homes in North Buffalo, “we have received many calls from people ready to build new homes in the City of Buffalo, and I feel that this project will be very successful, this is one of the most vibrant areas in the City. This Development will provide quality housing for the families moving into the neighborhood and the City of Buffalo.”

Dean Sutton Architects are designing the Craftsman Style homes ranging in size from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet. The floor plans will include ranch and two-story designs and will start in the $230,000 range.

In a long standing relationship with Hunt Real Estate ERA, Candace Koch and Brian Szkatulski of Hunt’s Hamburg office will be marketing these homes exclusively for Burke. “We are very excited to market these communities, with the dedication, quality and customization the Burke Team provides it is a pleasure to sell their homes.” 

The Hunt Team is also marketing several other communities including Brookside Village Townhomes in Lancaster, NY and Oakwood Townhomes in Blasdell, NY. For further information on these exciting communities contact Burke Homes at 646-0047, or for a private tour of any of our models call Candace Koch at 432-0503 or Brian Szkatulski at 903-0877.

As reported in The Buffalo News - February 15, 2011

Board OKs Colvin Estates project
Concerns about drainage will be addressed

North Buffalo's first housing development in a decade got the green light Tuesday from the city Planning Board but only after the board imposed conditions to try to ease community concerns.

The Colvin Estates project will be built along an abandoned rail corridor between Starin and Colvin avenues. The first phase will cost $5.2 million and will involve 26 homes.

If there's a demand for the homes, the project could eventually include 126 homes on a 23-acre site between St. Lawrence Avenue and Taunton Place, developers said.

While Planning Board members generally praised the project launched by developer David Gordon and Burke Homes, they stressed the importance of strong communication with neighborhood residents.

St. Lawrence Avenue resident Roberta Mustachia told the board that site-clearing activity and other work has been a "huge disruption" to the neighborhood. She claimed the noise and dirt have been intolerable.

"Spring, summer and fall of last year, there was no using my yard," she lamented.

Mustachia claimed the project has proceeded "under the radar screen" in the eyes of some neighbors who have had difficulty getting basic information.

The Planning Board approved the site plan, but it will force builders to perform any activities involving heavy equipment between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, and between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The board also received assurances from builders that concerns about drainage will be addressed.

Colvin Estates will be a "great addition" to North Buffalo, Planning Board Chairman James K. Morrell said, but he urged developers to keep communication channels open with the community. Architect David Sutton gave the board such assurances.

"I think it's real important to keep a good relationship with the neighbors," said Sutton, of Dean Sutton Architects.

Meanwhile, the Planning Board tabled action on another developer's plan to build a $5.2 million housing complex on the West Side.

Developer Anthony LoRusso wants permission to move forward with his Casa Serena project on long-vacant contaminated land at Maryland and West streets. The complex will have 47 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom apartments that will be marketed to low- and moderate-income tenants.

The Planning Board is awaiting environmental reports. But Planning Board Vice Chairwoman Cynthia A. Schwartz made it clear that she doesn't like the building's design, calling it a "very suburban apartment complex."

"This building looks like it was picked up on Sheridan Drive and plunked into this neighborhood," she said.

Board member Susan Curran Hoyt agreed, warning that the design could hurt a neighborhood that is "trying very hard to reinvent itself."

"I really believe that this is inconsistent and out of scale with the neighborhood," she said.

Some neighborhood residents argued that the complex could cause heavy traffic, noise and crime. Developers disputed these claims.

Hector Hernandez said a complex comosed mainly of one-bedroom apartments will likely attract "transient" tenants.

"We need homeowners in the neighborhood," he said.

Developers denied that the complex would cater to "transients."

The developer said it is willing to reconsider the project's design, noting that it has already made some revisions based on community concerns.

The original plan called for two separate structures on the site. A coin laundry planned in the building was also scrapped after some neighborhood residents objected.

Attorney Marc A. Romanowski disclosed that the building would house a small art gallery and a community meeting room, but he said it will have no commercial tenants.

As reported in Buffalo Rising - December 7, 2010

Colvin Estates Subdivision Work and Marketing Begins

Work is underway for on a north Buffalo subdivision, Colvin Estates. The new development is located off Colvin Avenue between Taunton Place and St. Lawrence Avenue.  Grading and site work started on the first phase of the project in recent weeks.  The property is being constructed on a former railroad right of way.   

Exclusive builder Burke Homes LLC is offering both single-story and two-story home designs with three or four bedrooms and  ranging in size from 1,235 to 1,767 sq.ft.  Three of the plans have first floor master bedrooms.  Prices for the Craftsman style homes start at approximately $215,000. 

"We currently have four plans that we are focusing on," says Brian Szkatulski who is marketing the project along with Candace Koch, both of Hunt Real Estate.  "Homes can be customized to meet buyers' needs and specifications."

The City of Buffalo is funding the infrastructure for the first phase of the project consisting of 26 home sites, each approximately 55' x 90'.  There are 127 lots planned for the project. 

Unlike previous plans for the property, this is not a patio home development.  A 30' easment for a future bikepath is located on the south side of the property.

"At this point in time we are prepared to take deposits on lot reservations," says Szkatulski.  Two model homes are expected to be complete by June 1.

As reported in The Observer, Dunkirk, NY - December 1, 2010

Wave of interest - Burke plan, above, one of two received for city waterfront by DLDC

Having two callers at the door can be a problem when you're a young lady. When you're an older city in New York state, it's a nice situation to be in.

And that's just the situation the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation is in as two proposals for the development of the former Bertges car dealership lakefront building and property have been received in response to a request for proposals issued by the DLDC.

Both Dunkirk Boardwalk Phase II project proposals have come from proven developers who were present Tuesday morning as the DLDC met at the SUNY Fredonia Incubator in what was called a 'continuation' of its Nov. 16 meeting.

Burke Homes, LLC, the developers of the Chadwick Bay Lofts, was represented by its president David Burke and by Brian Burke, the vice president of E/F Burke Realty Co.

The other presenters were from the Krog Corp. and Benchmark Environmental Engineering & Science, a two-company group looking to be a part of the city's waterfront development efforts. Krog Corp. is in the process, along with the Cliffstar Corporation, of developing the Roberts Road site that formerly housed several manufacturing plants. Paul Werthman, P.E. and Michael Lesakowski represented Benchmark while Paul Neureuter represented Krog Corp.

As required by the RFP the DLDC issued, the proposals contained a letter of intent, the development team and its experience, a project proposal and approach, a financial analysis and what will be requested in the way of municipal assistance, among other items.

The two RFPs took a different approach.

"Burke did a very detailed plan and the Krog proposal took the tact that they are outlining their qualifications and concepts in a collaborative process," DLDC Administrative Director and Dunkirk Development Director Kory Ahlstrom said.

He explained the difference was the doing of the DLDC in that the RFP was written more as a request for qualifications in an effort to encourage people to reply.

Each developer gave a brief presentation followed by questioning from board members in attendance. Burke Homes, L.L.C. went first.

"It was our intent to provide a comprehensive package to show a reuse of an existing venue in the Dunkirk area," Brian Burke said. "We want to capitalize on the existing success that has taken place at the Boardwalk. We want to be respectful of the architectural integrity that I think you've tried to carry on throughout all the projects. ... We have created a group of retail environments that would help foster growth and also create opportunities for new businesses in keeping with the existing Boardwalk. Those spaces range from 800 square foot on up to one space that would be 2,500 square foot."

He explained the 2,500 square foot space was designed for a food and beverage operation with access to a patio area to complement the existing area.

"The plans that are outlined here in the package are a basis for conversation. We're certainly more than willing to adjust and modify," Brian Burke stated. "We have had an opportunity to speak to a number of businesses in the area. We took their input and their interest and we put it into the package as much as possible, but it's our intent to ideally move fast and furiously on this.

"You look at the time line. We're prepared to move forward and actually be ready to go for the up and coming spring. We would have to obviously get started rather quickly and I think this meeting is probably a pretty good start to that process."

David Burke pointed out one major difference with the existing Boardwalk and their proposal.

"This facility, there's an interior corridor so this could be utilized in adverse conditions more easily than the other Boardwalk which has got access through patios," he said.

When the Burke brothers were finished, the Benchmark/Krog team made their pitch, with Werthman leading off.

"Collectively, between Krog and our company, we consider ourselves a premier Western New York developer and brownfields cleanup design builders," he said.

Some 500 acres of brownfields cleanup and over $100 million of development have been completed and Werthman added the two companies have done 10 projects together since 2005. He stated brownfields redevelopment provides an economic development tool.

Benchmark did the Phase I and II cleanup of the property under a competitive bidding contract.

Lesakowski gave a brief rundown on what was found, including an underground tank and said the state Department of Environmental Conservation would be involved in the final cleanup. He explained why the brownfields approach to the project would be useful.

"First, this is a redevelopment project and it's a redevelopment incentive," he began. "We clean up under a program with oversight by DEC and it provides lucrative benefits at the tail end in the form of reimbursable tax credits. ... At the end of the day we get a letter from New York state that says you did it the way we asked you to and you are hereby released from environmental liability. ... Entering into the program it provides lenders with some assurance that you're doing things 'the right way.'"

He added tax credits may also be available for 10 years if the brownfields method is used.

Krog Corp.'s Neureuter said a public-private partnership is really important and cited the Riverwalk Center in Jamestown as an example of what the group's specialty is.

"We focus on adaptive reuse, particularly on sites that have some environmental challenges. ... We take a very systematic approach. We try to understand thoroughly the context in which the development is going to occur," Neureuter said. "At the end of the day, it isn't what we do in the beginning, ... it's what's going to be long-term economically sustainable. This is not a dirty word, what is going to make the developer profitable and what's going to provide economic benefit to the community.

"That's the kind of collaboration and teamwork we like to promote on our development projects."

No decision was reached at the meeting and after Ahlstrom was asked when the developer will be chosen.

"I just told them we're going to try and do it before Christmas. We're going to try and get the board together in the next week or 10 days to do this because it's pretty important that some of the basic stuff be started soon," he replied. "There's a time lag on some of the DEC stuff that the sooner we start the sooner we get moving on."

The time lines for the Benchmark/Krog proposal indicated a 2012 finish, the Burke's proposal had a projected opening date of July 2011. Ahlstrom was asked about the difference.

"I think in the end they all probably track to the same date," he replied. "I don't know as if potentially the shorter date is feasible based on how quickly you get things out of Albany, although it's something to work toward and a goal."

Ahlstrom was pleased with one aspect of the process.

"I frankly thought it was an optimistic sign that we had two proposals from two very qualified developers, both with ties to properties in Dunkirk," he explained. "And that's, I think, a refreshing change for the area, to have developers competing for the right to be involved in a project as opposed to projects in the past where we've had to pitch pretty heavily to developers. Now we're seeing some of the groundwork and investment that we've laid in the community has worked so that they can see there's an economic opportunity and they're actually competing for the right to participate."

One of the two developers will get a Christmas present, one that will mean progress for the city of Dunkirk.

As reported in The Buffalo News - November 21, 2010

Village seeks to fill void with new life

YOUNGSTOWN — Village officials are still collecting public surveys, but proposed plans for the demolition of the hulking former Cold Storage building on Third Street—to make way for a roughly $4 million senior housing project — have neighbors, area seniors and their caretakers abuzz.

“I wouldn’t mind if senior housing went in, if the architecture was an updated look,” said Nadine Lucas, who has lived with her husband, Richard, at 722 Second St. for 47 years.

Adjacent to the proposed project, the couple are the closest neighbors to the Cold Storage site and fondly recall when it was a bustling business, operated by a local farmers’ cooperative.

“I didn’t mind that it was an industry. We loved the smell of apples in the fall, and they kept it in good shape,” Lucas recalled. “It was a beautiful building, but now it’s not anything that could be converted.”

The former owners just walked away more than a decade ago, according to village officials, leaving the massive, two-story stone structure to deteriorate beyond repair.

“I mean, I’m a senior, and who knows?” Lucas said, pondering the addition of senior housing to her neighborhood. “We’d like to stay in

the village. Both of our daughters live here, and we love it here.”

Glancing at the houses on the quiet, tree-lined street, Richard Lucas added, “Everyone in this neighborhood is a couple years away from [a potential need for senior housing].”

Niagara County is currently home to roughly 33,000 senior citizens age 65 and older, according to Susan Christian, an aging services specialist with the Niagara County Office for the Aging in Lockport.

“I get many, many calls from people looking for senior housing,” Christian said. “We have a Web site that provides a list of [about 60] sites in Niagara County, their locations and other details [ ]. But I have heard of waiting lists of a year or more at some.”

This doesn’t surprise Jeanette Collesano, director of the Town of Lewiston Senior Center.

“It’s one of the biggest things we need in this area,” she said. “And we really need assisted-living facilities.”

Youngstown officials are working with David Burke, of Burke Homes in Hamburg, in developing a potential plan for housing for those ages 62 and older at the site.

Burke said last week that his conceptual plans call for a 25,000-to 38,000-square-foot, two-story building with 25 to 40 units on the roughly three acres of land bordered by Second, Elliot and Third streets. His earlier plans of up to 50 units have been modified based on a marketing analysis, he said.

“We are still gathering data to make the most intelligent choices for everyone in Youngstown,” Burke said. He estimated the cost of the “midsized housing project” at $3.5 million to $4.5 million.

“We feel there is a real need for senior housing in Niagara County — especially in Youngstown,” Burke said. “Our initial market study indicated that.”

However, he said his company doesn’t see the project as an assisted-living facility.

“My partner in the Youngstown project will be David Pawlik of Creative Structures Services Inc., of Buffalo,” Burke said. “His last senior housing project was a HUD project with 31 units in Angola, and I worked as a contractor on it. It’s completed and fully occupied.

“I’m not sure if we will be able to obtain public financing for this project yet, and that’s why we’ve been exploring other financing options,” Burke added. “We have to do our due diligence. Certainly by January or February, we’ll know which direction we’re going in with funding.”

Mayor Neil Riordan said, “We’d like to have a preliminary review of the surveys by the end of this month. We’ve had a fair quantity returned.

“We will absolutely have a public hearing for the public to be heard on this,” Riordan said.

At least one neighbor of the proposed project said she intends to voice her opposition to the plan for the site.

The woman, who would not give her name, added that while she recognizes a real need for senior housing in the area, she is opposed to the increased traffic she believes such a project will bring to her quiet neighborhood in this village of roughly 2,100 residents.

Nadine Lucas, as the closest neighbor to the site and a former shop owner in the village, sees things differently.

“There is a senior van [provided by the village] if they really need transportation,” she said. “People don’t want Youngstown to grow, but that wouldn’t bother me. We need some more local business.”

The Cold Storage site was used to wash, store and package local apples from 1910 to 1996. It consists of a deteriorating, three-story stone warehouse, a single-story brick ice house and a spray wash area. A vacant house at 718 Second St., also owned by the farmers’ co-op, was demolished in October 2008.

“We go back at least a decade with the stockholders of the site, and we pleaded with them to take care of the infrastructure to prevent further destruction and, therefore, demolition, but they never responded,” said Riordan. “They just walked away from it.”

The county took possession of the site after the farmers’ coop stopped paying its taxes, and the village received the deed in June 2008. It was a necessary step in accepting a $110,000 grant from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the site.

With the help of additional county, state and federal grants, village officials oversaw remediation of the site, which contained PCBs, metals, arsenic and inorganic chemicals from heavy machinery. The site was given clearance to develop earlier this year by the EPA and state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Village officials had earlier hoped to salvage the buildings, or at least some of the timbers, but the site had deteriorated too much, Riordan said.

“It has got to be demolished,” he said, adding that the developer will bear the cost of the demolition.

The $1.3 million rehabilitation of a similar, former Cold Storage site in the Village of Wilson is currently under way, where the Woodcock Brothers Brewing Co. hopes to open a micro-brewery-restaurant complex next summer.

Riordan said the similarities end with the century-old age of the two structures.

“The Wilson Cold Storage site had nowhere near the deterioration we had here,” he said. “They had a very responsible program under their prior owners to preserve it, so while they are very similar buildings, these are totally different circumstances. Our co-op simply walked away, and over several years, it continued to deteriorate.”

Richard Lucas said he chases kids away from the Youngstown Cold Storage site at least once a week.

“Our police force and our fire department [located directly across the street] monitor it for us, and while it looks from the outside as though it may be accessible, it isn’t,” Riordan said. “Our number one priority is to keep it completely sealed off.”

The Village Board had entertained a number of different ideas for uses for the Youngstown site over the years, but Riordan said Burke Homes was the “only major respondent” when officials solicited requests for proposals for the site earlier this year.

Burke had said earlier that his company has been involved in a number of senior housing projects throughout Erie County.

According to Christian, of the Niagara County Office for the Aging, seniors make up nearly 16 percent of the county’s population. And she isn’t the only one fielding calls from people needing information on local senior housing.

“There is such a need for senior housing here, where people can be close to their families, and it’s affordable,” said Katie O’Connor, who works at the Lewiston Senior Center.

The staff was approached just last week by the Tennessee family of a local woman in need of such housing here. “We see this every day,” O’Connor said.

An informal poll of seniors gathered at the Senior Center to play cards last week elicited only positive responses.

“I think it’s a very nice idea,” said Violet McIntyre of Lewiston, who described herself as being in her mid-80s. “We will be staying in our home as long as we can, but a lot of us are living longer.”

“I think it’s a very good idea, because Youngstown has everything,” added Lewiston resident Al Kravitz, also in his mid-80s.

McIntyre said she’d be especially interested in seeing units that “aren’t too clinical, too hospital- looking, but that you can add your own little, personal touches to.”

Copies of the village survey are still available at Village Hall, the Youngstown Library and area churches and businesses, and are to be completed and returned to village offices by the end of the month.

As reported in The Buffalo News - November 18, 2010

Work starts on Subdivision

After four years of stops and starts, work is under way on North Buffalo’s first new housing development in nearly a decade.

Crews are clearing land along an abandoned rail corridor between Starin and Colvin avenues to make way for a subdivision of at least 30 single-family homes.

If successful, Colvin Estates eventually could have 126 houses, each priced at more than $215,000, making it North Buffalo’s largest new housing development in decades.

“This is a unique site,” developer David Gordon said. “A lot of it is old railroad land. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the city.”

Gordon proposed the project in 2006, but it stalled several times, initially because of neighborhood issues and later because of design changes by the city.

The 23-acre site, a vacant railroad right of way once owned by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, is located a few blocks south of Kenmore Avenue and is sandwiched between St. Lawrence Avenue and Taunton Place.

Gordon’s ultimate goal is to convert the wooded area into a subdivision with 126 homes. But the phased approach will begin with the construction of about 30 homes starting next year.

To get the project going, the city is kicking in about $900,000 for water and sewer lines, plus a new street connecting with Colvin.

“We’ll see what the demand is,” Delaware Council Member Michael LoCurto said. “I like the fact that we’re starting with only 30 houses so we don’t flood the market.”

Gordon says he thinks the development will take off, fueled in part by suburban families who want to live in the city but prefer newly constructed homes, now almost nonexistent in North Buffalo.

“There are people in the suburbs who want to live closer to where they work and where their kids go to school,” he said, referring to families with children at Buffalo’s numerous private schools.

David Burke, the local builder hired by Gordon, says he thinks the subdivision will appeal to teachers, firefighters and police officers who work in the city but live in the suburbs.

“I think that’s a good target market,” Burke said.

Not everyone is thrilled that Colvin Estates is moving forward.

Some nearby homeowners continue to complain about the neighborhood’s lack of involvement in the project and suggest that city officials have been mum on what Gordon plans to do with the site.

“It’s a very frustrating situation,” said Roberta Mustachia, who lives on St. Lawrence. “I have a lot of questions, and I can’t get any answers from City Hall.”