The high bidders for the former Dulski Federal Office Building in downtown Buffalo are seeking more than $19 million tax abatements to aid their $40 million plan to overhaul the office tower.
BTC Block 1/2 1 Inc., a partnership that includes Uniland Development Co. of Amherst and Acquest Development Co. of Buffalo, has asked the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for a $19.2 million package of property, sales and mortgage tax waivers.
The abatements, which would be tied to environmental remediation and gutting of the vacant building at 111 W. Huron St., will be the subject of a Feb. 9 ECIDA public hearing.
"It is exciting to take the first steps toward redeveloping 111 West Huron into a contemporary complex that will contribute to the revitalizations of the city core," said Uniland Vice President Michael J. Montante.
The local development team plans a total overhaul of both the interior and exterior of the 36-year-old, 15-story building. The majority of the nearly 400,000-square-foot structure will be converted to Class A office space, but Uniland and Acquest also are contemplating residential, hotel and retail uses.
The exterior of the building, which Acquest President William J. Huntress described as "quite ugly," will be stripped down and replaced by something "sleeker and more modern."
Uniland and Acquest put in the winning bid of $6.1 million in the federal government's online auction of the surplus property last October. While the bid has gotten approval from the General Services Administration, the deal has yet to close. The developers hope to officially own the tower by the end of March.
A building decommissioning ceremony was held late last year, with the family of its namesake, the late Rep. Thaddeus J. Dulski, receiving the structure's nameplate and the flag. The building, once home to more than 30 federal agencies and offices, saw its last remaining tenants depart last summer. The federal government opted to move out after concluding it was less expensive to relocate than to remodel it to meet its current space needs.
The building's asbestos content, which posed no problem if left undisturbed, would have made it more expensive to move workers around while remodeling.