PWC moving out of tower, into Larkinville

blj-sr-onesenecatowerhsbc-031414-600xx1197-1800-0-0In a move that surprised few, the region’s third largest CPA firm is abandoning the former HSBC tower in favor of the Larkin district.

“We can’t say it was one thing over another with our decision about where to move the office,” said Keith Stolzenburg, PricewaterhouseCoopers managing partner. “But, the Larkin District is a very funky place to be.”

Stolzenberg said with the average age of his firm’s employees just under 30, the “hip” factor of the Larkin District proved to be selling point.

The tower has lost several major anchor tenants in the past few years including the Canadian Consulate, HSBC Bank and thePhillips Lytle law firm. Where, once nearly all of its 851,000-square-feet were leased, the building is more than 95 percent vacant.

Development and ownership plans remain in flux and largely dependent on the outcome of the foreclosure process.

See the entire story from Jim Fink at Buffalo Business First here.

Medical Campus to gain residents, ammenities

campussquare-600xx273-182-24-0A school of music, a school of dance, a coffee shop, and a fresh-food grocery make up some of the community services that will accompany a planned $200M residential development in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.  The McGuire Group and Mark Trammel are teaming up to develop a 12-acre piece of land bordered by Best and North, Ellicott and Michigan.

From Jim Fink at Buffalo Business First,

Jeff Lehrbach, McGuire vice president and chief financial officer, said his company hopes to present formal plans for the Pilgrim Village development vision, now being called Campus Square and North Ellicott Commons, to Buffalo officials this July, starting with the city’s Planning Board. If approved, construction could start on the first phase this fall.”

Buffalo to compete for federal dollars to fund Main Street work

carsonmain-600xx320-213-0-0The city and Buffalo Place Inc. have submitted a formal request to the federal Department of Transportation for a $28 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to fund a large percentage of the next “Cars Sharing Main Street” phase. That would cover a portion of Main Street between Mohawk Street to the south side of Lafayette Square and, a portion of lower Main Street that includes Canalside, beginning at Exchange Street and heading south to Perry Street.

The entire project has a $35 million price tag, with the city of Buffalo picking up the $7 million difference between the federal TIGER grant request and the next phase’s bottom line.

Federal TIGER grant awards are expected to be announced by November.

The proposed next phases of “Cars Sharing Main Street” may be among the most important to downtown’s long-term future. The stretch between Mohawk Street and Lafayette Square will cross in front of the 10 Lafayette Building, a $42 million project being undertaken by the Hamister Group that will see the vacant Tishman Building renovated into a 124-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel, Hamister’s corporate offices and 18 apartments. That project should be completed this fall.

More here from Jim Fink at Buffalo Business First.

Nick Sinatra snatches up Phoenix Brewery building


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In a deal that has been in the works since late last year, real estate investor Nick Sinatra has closed on the late 1800s former Phoenix Brewery building in Buffalo.

Sinatra, according to documents filed in the Erie County Clerk’s office, paid $1.78 million for the 50,000-square-foot Washington Street warehouse that sits near the southern edge of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The building had been owned by local antiques dealer Joseph Parlato.

Initial plans call for as many as 40 apartments to be developed inside the building. The building’s primary tenant base will be workers in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus as well as those employed in the central business district.

Sinatra expects to formally file plans for his development with Buffalo officials later this spring.

All told, Sinatra said he will be investing $5 million in the project and will be applying for state historic tax credits to help with the financing. The property was toured last month by representatives from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as a prelude to securing the tax credits.

Read more about this story and the continuing development near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus from Buffalo Business First and Buffalo Rising.

AMRI’s and NYS plans for Conventus come to light

The $250 million Buffalo Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub, together with anchor tenant Albany Molecular Research Inc., comprised the first “Buffalo Billion” project and was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in December 2012. Several locations on theBuffalo Niagara Medical Campus fell through before Ciminelli Real EstateCorp.’s Conventus building at Main and High streets was chosen. The BMIC Hub will occupy all of the seventh floor.

The state’s $50 million is to be split between real estate acquisitions and equipment and build-out costs. It sets an employment goal of 250 for tenants of the hub by 2020 — but does not mention penalties for failing to meet that goal. ESD noted that AMRI received about $2.25 million in ESD grants between 1999 and 2000, and though the employment goals weren’t met, the penalties were waived.

Ciminelli added a seventh floor to Conventus after it landed AMRI, and the resulting lab is expected to be about 47,000 square feet. In addition to the molecule library, the lab will include state-of-the-art pharmaceutical screening capabilities, biomarker development and bioinformatics resources to support research and development, according to the minutes.

“The work underway in Buffalo fits nicely with our strategy,” Marth said. “We are continuing to collaborate with the State of New York as they develop a world-class translational science center at the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Center which will enableAMRI to offer next generation discovery platforms and capabilities in the areas of chemistry, biology and pharmacology in a unique open-innovation model.”

Read more here from Dan Miner at Buffalo Business First

Genesee Gateway district adds more restaurants this summer

The Genesee Gateway district in downtown Buffalo is about to welcome a new deli.

Marco’s Italian Deli will be leasing a portion of the first floor in the Genesee Gateway Building, with the intent of opening this summer. That ties in with Catholic Health moving into its new corporate headquarters and training center, almost across Oak Street. Marco’s is leasing 4,000-square-feet facing the Genesee and Oak street corner of the building.

Marco’s joins a growing list of new restaurants planned not only along the Genesee Gateway stretch but also along downtown’s 500 block of Main Street.

Read more from Jim Fink at Buffalo Business First here.

Working For Downtown

Williamsville-based company looks to expand downtown

ColoCrossing Inc., a Williamsville-based data center, is adding staff and preparing to move its headquarters to downtown Buffalo.

Joseph Robinson, vice president of corporate development said that the 24-person company, founded in 2003 and located at 8195 Sheridan Dr., is weighing its options for a new office. Sites on Main Street and Delaware Avenue are being considered, he said, to expand the company’s 5,000 square-feet of data center.

Read more here from David Bertola at Business First

Canal work at Aud site is coming together

The actual construction work on the canals is approximately 57 percent completed and due to be finished by mid-October. The $23 million project has been delayed as the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. found itself in a complicated legal battle with Depew’s DiPizio Construction. The legal matter remains unsettled in New York State Supreme Court. DiPizio, the original low bidder on the project, is no longer working on the canals and was replaced by the Pike Co.

Read more here from Jim Fink at Business First