Savarino Companies

Exciting Times in Buffalo Proposal to Redevelop 500 Seneca St. is Another Piece of City's Rehabilitation

The Buffalo News- Opinion

12/9/2012

A promising development on Seneca Street stands to add another important
piece to the fast-filling puzzle of Buffalo's economic revival.

Savarino Companies is planning a mixed-use, adaptive reuse of the
330,000-square-foot building at 500 Seneca St. The six-story edifice,
between Spring and Hamburg Streets, is an abandoned factory, most
recently occupied eight years ago by New Era Cap Co.

Its location is about perfect, helping connect downtown Buffalo with the developing
Larkin District to the east. Plans are specifically to extend the
streetscape enhancements in the Larkin District toward downtown.

Under Savarino's plan, the former headquarters of the F.N. Co. will be
transformed into a multi-tenant building that will feature 220,000
square feet of Class A office space on five floors, plus retail, museum,
business incubator and storage or flex space for tenants.

Other uses will include rental space for cultural groups and community
organizations. The office space will "feature loft-style finishes, large
exterior windows and large floor plates." There will be a three-story
green atrium, an enclosed exterior courtyard, an on-site fitness center,
a cafe and cafeteria as well as 150 indoor parking spaces and other
amenities.

Although the project is awaiting approval from the Buffalo Planning Board,
Savarino has already begun stabilization work on
deteriorated sections of the 111-year-old building, which the company
purchased from New Era nearly three years ago. Asbestos and lead removal
also needs to be done.

Appropriately for such a building, financing will come in part from federal and state historic tax credits.
Full construction is expected to begin in spring, and the first tenant
might be able to move in shortly thereafter.

The list of Buffalo's redevelopment projects is suddenly very long, stretching from
the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to the inner and outer harbors and,
now, to the threshold of the Larkin District. In fact, this isn't the
only project leveraging the visionary Larkin work done by developer
Howard Zemsky. A bicycle-themed project on Swan street, announced last
month, also seeks to connect that area to downtown Buffalo.

It has been decades since developers saw so much promise in this old but
durable city. The project at 500 Seneca St. is a welcome addition to the
list of developments that are already under way, or about to be.



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