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Downtown Buffalo high-rise brought back to life by Hamister Group

After years of vacancy and neglect, life is returning to the Tishman Building in downtown Buffalo, as new owner Hamister Group took occupancy of the top three floors last month and apartment residents move in over the next few days.

The tall, dark metal-and-glass edifice on Lafayette Square and Main Street has undergone months of overhaul and renovation by hospitality firm the Hamister Group, with most of the building’s 20 floors gutted and rebuilt from the inside. The longtime office building looks the same on the exterior, where historic preservation requirements prevented any substantive changes to the facade, but its interior purpose is now radically different.

Today, the building’s 18th, 19th and 20th floors house the corporate headquarters for Mark Hamister’s firm, with the company’s reception area on the 19th floor. Hamister has 40 employees there.

The next three floors contain 18 high-end luxury apartments, with a mixture of one- and two-bedroom units in six different configurations because of the layout of the building. Already, 10 of the 18 are rented, and the first tenant moved in July 31, with the rest taking their places by Aug. 15, said Hamister spokeswoman Andrea Czopp.

The bulk of the 140,000-square-foot building will be a new Hilton Garden Inn, with 124 rooms on floors 4 through 14, plus the lobby, restaurant, meeting rooms and a pool on the remaining levels. Work by contractor R&P Oak Hill is continuing on that portion of the project, with the hotel slated to open, on schedule, by Oct. 10.