A proposed $20 million 12-story building at the southwest corner of Washington and Scott Streets moved closer to reality this week as the Erie County Industrial Development Agency approved bond financing to pay for the project.
S. Jon Kreedman, the developer who also owns the Marine Midland Center, said he has hired a New York City architectural firm to design the office tower. He said the design will be made public in a month or two.
The building, which would be located on 1.75 acres of land, would be across Washington Street from the new Marine Midland office project under construction at the southeast corner of Washington and Scott. Kreedman's building would be across Scott Street from the Donovan state office building.
Kreedman's schedule calls for construction to begin in March of 1990, with completion following in less than a year. The developer calculates that tenants of the building would employ about 500 people, according to Dean J. Sallak, treasurer of the IDA. Sallak said the employment estimate is based on a square-feet-per-worker formula.
The land where Kreedman wants to erect the building is owned by the city. The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency in December designated Kreedman developer of the property. Kreedman still is negotiating a purchase price for the land. His status as designated developer is scheduled to expire in June.
The county IDA's action in a closed-door executive session Tuesday gives Kreedman the right to seek a buyer for a $20 million bond that would carry city and county tax breaks as well as state sales tax breaks. After Kreedman finds a buyer, the IDA would have to approve the bond sale.
The recent burst of downtown office building activity will not outpace demand for the space, Kreedman predicted. "If we have the right building, we'll get our share (of tenants)," he said.
The building will have about 160,000 square feet of rentable space, Kreedman said. The developer has not yet pursued potential tenants for the facility.
Surface-level parking would be provided on the parcel of land, and tenants also would be directed to the 818-car Exchange Street parking ramp, where Kreedman said there are vacancies. Kreedman is co-owner of the ramp.
At 12 stories tall, Kreedman's building would be about twice as high as the six-story Marine Midland office complex under construction across the street.
Kreedman said he showed early drafts of his design to Marine officials, and they did not object.
Charles M. Mitschow, western region president of Marine, said he understood that the design would be compatible with the bank's building. He said he hoped Kreedman would follow through on a plan for a walkway that would seemingly extend a walkway planned for Marine's atrium, thus binding the two structures architecturally.
"We had hoped our building would stimulate more (construction) activity in the area," Mitschow said.
Mitschow said Kreedman's building should not block Marine's view of Lake Erie, because the the Marine building would not provide a clear view of the lake anyway, and Kreedman's building would be located somewhat north, closer to Scott Street than Marine's.
Kreedman, Marine's landlord in the 38-floor Marine Midland Center, had attempted to build a second tower on the Marine Midland Center plaza, but the bank has always rejected his plans.