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DEA office to leave Guaranty Building

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will be moving out of the Guaranty Building early next summer, ending a dispute that has been slowing efforts to renovate the landmark downtown building.

The DEA will be moving its Buffalo regional office to the Electric Tower building at 535 Washington St., the U.S. General Services Administration announced on Thursday.

"With DEA's move to its new site, all federal tenants will have left the Guaranty Building," GSA spokeswoman Renee Miscione said.

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer had announced the move in September but the name of the new location was not released at that time while lease talks continued.

Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins, both Democrats, criticized the government over the summer for failing to move quickly to find a new place for both the Internal Revenue Service and the DEA in Buffalo.

Hodgson Russ, the law firm that owns the building, had complained that the federal agencies' continued presence was hampering a $12 million renovation.

Built in 1896 and designed by famed architect Louis Sullivan, the Guaranty Building was one of America's first skyscrapers.

After the GSA missed several deadlines, Hodgson Russ sued to evict the IRS and DEA, but federal prosecutors stayed the suit through an eminent domain action to allow the continued search.

The IRS moved into the Olympic Towers in October. The GSA has signed a 10-year lease with Iskalo Development for 26,584 square feet of space in the Electric Tower for the DEA, along with 52 parking spaces.

Federal drug agents have operated from the Guaranty Building at 28 Church St. for at least 10 years.

Iskalo Development spent $18 million renovating the former Niagara Mohawk headquarters building, a 16-story tower.


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