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Federal office is moving soon

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services is getting ready to move into its new downtown office space in Fountain Plaza after a $1.5 million renovation.

The federal agency's administrative services office in Buffalo will occupy 32,000 square feet on the second and third floors of the Bank of America building, ultimately housing about 135 employees in administrative and back-office functions. When the move and 15-year lease were announced last November, the office employed 35 at its operation at 186 Exchange St.

Officials are "in the final stages of construction" on the remodeling, and the agency is now preparing to move and occupy the space in October, said Sam LaGambina, vice president of construction for Ciminelli Development Co., which manages the building for its New York City-based owner, investor Erwin Zafir. The 26-year-old, eight-story building will now be 90 percent occupied.

The office will process citizenship applications, visa petitions and temporary worker applications, and will adjudicate asylum claims. There will not be a public lobby, and no detainees will be brought there.

The agency will still maintain a separate local field office on the first floor of the Federal Center at 130 Delaware Ave. for people applying for citizenship and other immigration services to visit.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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