Cleaning up an 1865 Batavia building

Mark Gutman/Daily NewsDr. Kumar Neppalli plans to put $1.165 million into this 155-year-old structure. Renovation would be for a dental practice, commercial office space on the second floor and apartments on the third floor.

BATAVIA — Dr. Kumar Neppalli wants to renovate a building that’s 155 years old and turn it into a new home for his practice, whileing office space and two apartments.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors Thursday approved $63,500 in sales and mortgage tax benefits incentives for Neppalli Holdings, LLC, in connection with the project.

Neppalli Holdings will invest approximately $1.165 million to renovate a three-story building at 99 Main St. The renovation and redevelopment of the 7,500-square-foot building, which was built in 1865, includes a new storefront, façade and reconstruction of the existing three floors.

A dental practice will reside on the first floor with the second floor being developed for commercial office space. The third floor will include two two-bedroom, market-rate apartments.

Neppalli Holdings, LLC is the latest transformational building renovation project to proceed in downtown Batavia through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).

Neppalli, of Buffalo Implants And Periodontics, PLLC, 17 Jackson St., said he bought the building at 99 Main St. to move his periodontics practice into it.

“Unfortunately, it’s a fire-damaged building and all of the second-floor beams have to be demolished to make the building safe. One thing snowballed into another and so we are now at the point where we’re renovating the whole building in order to make full use of that,” Neppalli said. “It (was) a beautiful property and I think it can be a beautiful property again, so we’re investing time and money into the property to bring it up to scratch, to current codes and standards,” the dentist said. “The first floor of the building is going to be my dental office and then the second floor is going to be office space. We haven’t decided office space in terms of who would like to use that ... I was looking to move into that building with my practice.”

Neppalli said the third floor is a beautiful space and that currently, only half of the building had been used as apartments.

“They’re no longer livable, but eventually there will be two two-bedroom apartments with a mezzanine floor and, hopefully, a rooftop garden for each of the (units),” he said. “Our design is based on that concept.”

Neppalli said city Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall is working on approval of permits so the renovations can begin.

“I was ready to start renovating ... but obviously, with the planning process and the grant process, things were delayed to this point. We’re looking forward to moving forward and seeing what the end result of the building would be,” Neppalli said.

Neppalli was asked whether the project would be done in one phase or by floor.

“The plan is to do this all in one phase,” he said. “When I started, I was thinking of doing it in several phases, but it quickly turned out that you have to do everything together. In order to do the ground floor for the practice, I have to do the second floor and the third floor. It just doesn’t make any sense to phase it ... that’s why it’s all in one phase.”

The project contractor has told Neppalli the project can be done in about 180 days, he said.

“I think that’s a bit of a stretch at the moment, considering the market for contractor personnel, so I think it’s probably going to take a little longer,” Neppalli said. “He said he’s going to try to finish it within six months. I’m eagerly waiting to see if that’s going to happen.”

GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde thanked Neppalli for his investment.

“This is one of the first projects for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative that’s up and running. It’s so important to have a vibrant town to bring communities back and your investment’s really appreciated,” Hyde said. “It’s really going to create some continued momentum for redevelopment right in the heart of Batavia.”

Batavia Development Corporation President Andrew Maguire noted the age of the building.

“It’s taking a building that’s in need of substantial rehab and converting it to an asset — not only an asset, but a mixed-use asset that’s commercial,” he said. “It’s also going to address our need, that we’ve identified, of substantial new housing — especially in our downtown and Genesee County in general.”

“In my mind, this is almost a quintessential Building Improvement Fund project, where we’re taking a vacant structure right on Main Street, a very well-known structure as well, and converting it to something that is going to be there for years to come .. and adding market-rate apartments on the third floor,” Maguire said. “I think it’s a great ‘kickoff’ project for our Building Improvement Fund and I’m really excited for it just like Dr. Neppalli is to see the final result.”

GCEDC Vice President of Business Development Chris Suozzi said the project is getting $137,600 through a business development fund.

“The business improvement fund was part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award,” he said.

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