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M&T may grow downtown workforce

M&T Bank Corp. will have the capacity to add as many as 1,000 more employees in downtown Buffalo over time, now that it is reconfiguring its urban space to accommodate more workers.

Keith Belanger, the Buffalo-based bank's senior vice president for corporate services, said Wednesday that officials have been going "floor by floor" through the bank's six downtown buildings to reconfigure and refresh the 1 million square feet of space it already owns or leases in the city, where it currently employs about 4,000. That's part of a five-year, $100 million investment in upgrades and renovations at both existing and leased facilities.

As a result, he said, the bank has increased the density of its floors by about 20 percent, and can now handle almost 5,000 staffers. Among other steps, M&T gutted the former Hiscock & Barclay LLP space on the 11th floor of M&T Center to house 300 employees, while reorganizing half of the 21 floors at One M&T Plaza.

"It means we're going to add 1,000 people downtown as we grow," he said.

Overall, M&T occupies more than 1.3 million square feet of space in 12 facilities throughout Western New York, with over 7,000 workers. That includes 22 percent of the city's Class A downtown office space, in buildings such as One M&T Plaza, M&T Center, Lafayette Square Building, the Larkin Center of Commerce, 285 Delaware and the AM&A Warehouse Lofts.

Officials have previously said they expect to have enough space for over 8,100 Western New York workers by the end of next year.

"We, like many businesses, are creating capacity by applying today’s standards to yesterday’s floor plates," Belanger explained. "We are just more efficiently using the ones we have, making the improvements in our existing buildings as the jobs show up, or in some cases, building the capacity in anticipation of the jobs to come."

email: jepstein@buffnews.com

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