California wealth manager plans rehab of Delaware Avenue mansion

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A California wealth management firm wants to renovate one of Buffalo’s Delaware Avenue mansions and turn it into its office.

Crux Wealth Advisors of Long Beach, Calif. – an independent advisory firm affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services that has expanded significantly across the country in the past two years – opened in Buffalo after recruiting 11 advisers from other brokerages since last summer.

Those agents joined from rivals such as Wells Fargo, UBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Key Investment Services – lured by Crux’s independent advisory model that allows the individual brokers to own their own business and clientele.

The 5-year-old firm – whose executive vice president, Chris Campbell, hails from Orchard Park – is seeking to make an even bigger splash locally by acquiring and restoring the William Dorsheimer House as its new home.

It’s a multimillion-dollar investment, said founder and President Travis Alexander. Dorsheimer twice served as lieutenant governor of New York.

“We want to not only provide a great environment for our advisers and clients, but we want to be able to contribute positively back to the cities that we’re now proud of,” Alexander said. “So it’s really important for us to identify places that have a really significant connection to the community, and be able to restore them to their original glory with a modern update.”

Crux bought the three-story Dorsheimer house late last year for $1.09 million, and is preparing to embark on a renovation that’s expected to cost another $1 million to $2 million. The result will be an updated office with space for 20 financial advisers and 10 staff members, as well as multiple conference rooms and a third-floor lounge.

Located at 434-438 Delaware Ave., the mansion was designed by H.H. Richardson and was built in the Louis XIII style between 1869 to 1871. The orange brick and gray sandstone house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and features a green mansard roof.

The 9,536-square-foot mansion – long since converted to offices – sits on almost one-third of an acre on the edge of both downtown Buffalo and Allentown, with 24 parking spaces.

According to the Buffalo Architecture and History website, the Dorsheimer house was converted into offices in the late 1950s by food brokerage George R. Bennett Co., which also added a glass-enclosed office extension on the southeast side.

Part of that addition will be demolished by Crux, under new plans submitted to the Buffalo Preservation Board by Silvestri Architects.

That includes two new covered entries with mansard roof canopies and steps on either side of the addition, which will match the historic appearance of the entrance on the north side. However, Preservation Board members balked at the covered entries covering the stairs and extending to the front facade, saying that doesn’t match the original look, so they tabled the application for two weeks.

The plan also features a new balcony and wrought-iron railing on the roof of the addition, new columns and a new brick-and-stone sign.

Windows will be replaced with replicas, and wood panel siding will be replaced and extended to the new entrance.

If approved, Crux hopes to start work as soon as possible, with completion by the third quarter. Construction will be performed by 716 Ministries, a faith-based nonprofit that employs refugees to provide them both employment and skills, which will act as general contractor for the project. Campbell’s father is the group’s operations manager.