Five years ago, developer Samuel Savarino and partner Frontier Group of Companies bought the former F.N. Burt Co. box-making plant at 500 Seneca St. from New Era Cap Co. for $200,000.
Three years later, he proposed converting the 306,000-square-foot facility into a mixture of apartments and commercial space, dubbed Hydraulic Lofts and designed by Chaintreuil Jensen Stark Architects. Today, that vision is nearly complete.
The 150,000 square feet of Class A commercial office space is nearly completed and largely spoken for, with tenants including Liberty Mutual Corp. of Boston, collections agency ABC-Amega Inc., Bradford Energy, Bene-Care Agency, Provident Funding, Nervve Technologies, Leadership Buffalo, Oracle, a data center and Tommyrotters Distillery. Many have already occupied their space.
Meanwhile, construction is proceeding quickly on the residential space, with leasing to begin shortly and the first units becoming available in January.
The $36 million project will have 100 apartments ranging in size from 560 square feet to 3,000 square feet, with rent from $555 to $2,700 for the top-floor corner unit. Twenty different layouts are available, with open floor plans, high ceilings, exposed brick walls, high-end fixtures and finishes, wide factory or ganged-sash windows, and either polished concrete or restored cherry wood floors.
The building will also include a three-story covered indoor atrium with a skylight, as well as a private open courtyard and a planned rooftop patio. There will also be a restaurant and a cafeteria or bistro, plus a wine cellar, a two-story fitness center, a first-floor spa and salon, climate-controlled bicycle and tenant storage, meeting space, a pet day care and secure parking on four different lots.
Danielle Becker, 25, wanted to be near her job at Kaleida Health’s offices in the Larkin at Exchange Building, so she put down a deposit. She would be just four minutes from her office, which “couldn’t get better.”
“I just wanted to move downtown,” said Becker, who now lives in Lancaster. “Downtown Buffalo is really rebuilding. It’s the place to be. All of my friends want to move downtown.”
– Jonathan D. Epstein