298 Main to be converted into apartments

All of downtown is seemingly ripe for development these days.  This from James Fink at Buffalo Business First:

Plans to renovate the upper floors of a historic downtown Buffalo office building into residential units is taking a big step forward with a prominent developer agreeing to take part in the project.

Representatives from Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. confirmed they will be partnering with the Kissling Interests LLC on a proposed $8 million makeover of the White Building at 298 Main St. Plans call for renovating the buildings top floors into at least 24 apartments.

Floors seven through 10 have been largely vacant since the DamonMorey LLP law firm moved from the building to the Avant Building.

The deal came about through the close relationship that Dennis Penman, Ciminelli executive vice president and principal, has with New York City-based Anthony Kissling, Kissling Interests namesake and founder. Kissling has been investing in Buffalo area real estate for nearly 15 years.

The White Building deal may open the door for other joint ventures between Kissling and Ciminelli, although both Penman and Kissling said there has only been preliminary talks.

Larkinville to add $5M apartment conversion

Larkinville and the area surrounding it keep getting stronger.  It seems just about every vacant building holds a world of potential for developers with big ideas. First came office space, then followed music and food. Now more restaurants and even retail space are being added. The conversion of 500 Seneca just up the street shows this can be a vibrant area of the city that is larger than one intersection.

550 Seneca is part of a $5M apartment conversion plan from Frontier Group of Cos.  94,675-square-feet of warehouse space would become 31 apartments with indoor parking.

“We’re talking about very quality apartments,” general contractor David Pawlik of Creative Structures Services Inc. said. “Expect them to be very cutting edge in their look and feel.”

Larkinville has seen such rapid development in part to its proximity to I-190, but also because this former industrial hub is surrounded by space for parking.  These appeal to companies that might otherwise have looked in the suburbs and residents who want to be in the city, but be able to park on premises.

Read more on the details of the plan from James Fink of Buffalo Business First here.

Buffalo ready to host and show off at NCAA Tournament

“You want one single reason why the NCAA keeps coming back to Buffalo? It’s the hospitality and coordination.”  Said Ken Taylor, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Associate Director of Basketball and Baseball, when asked why the NCAA  basketball tournament has come to town so frequently ( this year will be the fifth time since 2000).

This year, the city, Visit Buffalo Niagara, First Niagara Center, Buffalo Place Inc, and numerous restaurant owners have been coordinating months in advance in order make sure the anticipated 18,000 guests bringing an estimated $5.2 million to spend locally are well-accommodated.

Read more about those efforts from James Fink at Business First here.

Buffalo: Hockey Mecca?

harborDave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey says that HarborCenter represents the future of the sport he oversees.  “This is going to become a mecca of sorts,” Ogrean said during a recent visit to Buffalo. “I don’t even think they know yet everything that they might do. But the potential is enormous.”

Having three NHL-sized rinks linked together, along with a training center, leads Ogrean to call HarborCenter a first-of-its-kind U.S. hockey facility, and has prompted him to strengthen USA Hockey’s ties with the Sabres.

The NHL has also taken notice.

Last month, Commissioner Gary Bettman told The Associated Press that, because of HarborCenter, the league is seriously considering the Sabres’ pitch to relocate the NHL’s annual pre-draft scouting combine from Toronto to Buffalo.

“Listen, it’s an extraordinary investment in both Buffalo and hockey,” said Bettman. “We have been extraordinarily fortunate to have Terry Pegula come in because, not only is he investing in the Sabres, he’s investing in hockey, and he’s investing in the community with HarborCenter.”

Across center ice in Joe Louis Arena in Detroit reads: Hockeytown. Buffalo, on the other hand, is letting its development and momentum turn into a reputation that speaks for itself.

Read more from the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise here.

Elm Street development picks up with Planing Mill

planingmillIt was only a matter of time before development at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and downtown caught up to each out and pushed east.  Elm and Oak seem to be the next hot spot for development.

TM Montante Development has made it official: C&S Companies has agreed to relocate its Buffalo office to The Planing Mill, 141 Elm Street, thus doubling the size of the firm’s work space.  C&S, an engineering, planning and construction services firm, plans to move into the Class A office space next month from nearby 90 Broadway.

The historic building is the former site of the E.M. Hager & Sons Planing Mill and later The Spaghetti Warehouse, which was purchased by TM Montante Development in 2012.  The property is currently undergoing renovations, which was made possible by the recent approval of tax incentives by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for completion of the project.

Read more here from Buffalo Rising.

Plan to Sell, Redevelop Trico Site Nearly Done

tricokrog-304The Trico building still stands, and now concrete plans for its redevelopment are coming to light.  Buffalo Brownfield Restoration Corp. will sell the building to the Krog Corp. for $45,000.  Two hotels, an extended stay and a boutique-style, will anchor the project with 230 rooms.  Commercial and apartment space will also be available.

In recent years, calls were made for the building to be demolished, especially after pieces crumbled onto Goodell Street. Peter Krog had eyed the Trico building nearly a decade ago, before the rapid development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) had allowed developer confidence in that area to take flight.

On top of the momentum created by the BNMC and other development downtown, the successful conversions of buildings of similar size and function in the Larkin District make this project more feasible.  The plans for 500 Seneca’s conversion may offer a glimpse of what a converted Trico building could look like.500SenecaB

For an in depth look at the deal and the plans, see James Fink’s article from Buffalo Business First.


We’ve waited, and watched, and walked by and pointed, and salivated, and wondered, when?  Well, today is the day!

This from James Fink at Business First:

…Officials expect long lines, given all the hype connected with the restaurant’s opening. The Dinosaur has been one of the most sought after regional restaurant chain by local residents in recent years.

The Syracuse-based chain considered a number of downtown Buffalo sites before selecting the Franklin Street building – once a film storage facility – that businessman Mark Croce bought a decade ago.

Full story here.

dino bbq


Momentum seems to be picking up everywhere, even through the winter.  Ellicott Development’s work on The Graystone, despite its previous condition, is another step forward for Downtown.

From The Buffalo News:

After years of abandonment and decay so severe that trees grew through the roof of the six-story building, the former Graystone Hotel in downtown Buffalo has been given new life as a 42-unit apartment complex, following a two-year reconstruction and redevelopment effort by Ellicott Development Co.

The new Graystone Residences open today at noon at 24 South Johnson Park, with a mixture of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Rents are from $750 to $1,600 per month – mostly in the $900 to $1,200 range – with about 25 percent to 30 percent already leased, said Ellicott CEO William Paladino. Read more here.

43North Business Competiton Launches

With $5 million in cash prizes, including a top award of $1 million, six $500,000 awards and four $250,000 awards, 43North is setting out to turn the best new business ideas from around the globe into reality.

Winners also receive free incubator space for a year, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs.

43North is open to applicants in any industry, with the exception of retail and hospitality, and winners agree to operate their business in the Buffalo, New York for a minimum of one year.

The competition includes three rounds of judging:
1.  Feb 5, 2014 to May 31, 2014: 43North accepts applications via 43North.org
2.  Sept 15, 2014 to Sept 20, 2014: Semifinalists present their plans via webinar
3.  Oct 27, 2014 to Oct 31, 2014: Finalists present their plans during a weeklong series of events in Buffalo, NY

This ambitious initiative is part of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s historic pledge of $1 billion in state funding to ignite economic growth in the Buffalo, New York region.

More information here.