The mega-projects are winding down.
In 2015, HarborCenter, Conventus and the new Delaware North headquarters were opened or completed. In 2016, the new SolarCity factory will mostly be completed.
In 2017, the UB Medical School, the new Children’s Hospital and the Roswell Park expansion will be completed.
What comes next?
The answer, according to The Buffalo News database of planned and prospective projects: $1.55 billion in smaller projects.
That’s less than what the region has grown accustomed to but more than was typical before the mega-projects took center stage.
The more than three dozen projects, most under construction or announced, are largely smaller, fill-in projects geared toward meeting residential, hospitality, retail and service needs, Most are in Buffalo and are slated for completion in 2016 or 2017, with a few larger-scale developments that could last longer.
About 70 percent of them are at least partially rehabilitations of older buildings, while the rest entail entirely new space.
“You’re going to continue to see some construction, but not to the level that you’ve seen the last two years,” said William Paladino, CEO of Ellicott Development Co. “We’ve had a lot of things built in the last two years. We’ve got to see them sort of populated and see how it affects the neighborhoods and the city in general.”
Including the region’s mega-projects, from the Outer Harbor to North Buffalo, from Larkinville and the Northland Corridor to lower Niagara Street and Black Rock, the city is teaming with over $5 billion in ongoing or pending new development. Tack on the suburbs, Southern Tier and Niagara Falls, and Western New York is bustling in a way it hasn’t in decades.
“We went from zero to 100 miles an hour,” said Rocco Termini, developer and owner of Signature Development Buffalo LLC. “There was no development activity downtown 15 years ago.”
The popularity of adaptive re-use projects will likely continue, and development will spread out farther from the city’s core. However, there also may be more projects involving new construction – like 250 Delaware or Ellicott’s proposed 500 Pearl – because there are fewer historic buildings “with the right bones and the right potential” remaining to be redeveloped, said Paul Ciminelli, CEO of Ciminelli Real Estate Corp.
And the newer projects, some of which will be built on current parking lots, will likely go higher and denser in use, to maximize the space and make them more financially viable because “the cost of land and development is going up,” he added.
“I think you’re going to continue to see neighborhoods being gentrified, and I think you’re going to continue to see the city being more of a hotbed for investment,” Ciminelli said. “The millennials are driving a lot of that, and they’re going to continue to drive it with the entrepreneurial spirit that they have.”
He added: “There’s momentum. You needed the big projects to start the momentum, but you’re going to see spin-offs from the bigger projects, and you’re going to see that hopefully continue.
“I’ve seen Buffalo go through so many renaissances before,” Ciminelli said. “The difference is this one is broader. It has more of a community development aspect to it, and it’s driven by a broader sense of dynamics in the marketplace. “I would think that makes it more sustainable.”
500 Pearl St., Buffalo
New 12-story, mixed-use tower next to the Buffalo Christian Center, with six floors of parking, a three-story 112-room hotel, 28 apartments, office space, and first-floor retail. Buffalo Christian Center will house main lobby, lounge, café, banquet/meeting space, and basement pool/spa, plus back-of-house functions. Road Less Traveled Productions remains in Forbes Theatre space.
Schedule: Slated to start
in April 2016, and finish in 2017.
Developer: Ellicott Development Co.
Contractor: Ellicott Development Co.
(Design by Kideney Architects)
Cost: $70 million to $75 million.
Campus Square/Pilgrim Village redevelopment
1100 Michigan Ave. and 903 Ellicott St., Buffalo
Redevelopment of 90-unit Pilgrim Village affordable multifamily development. Phase One is building a six-story building with 62 affordable senior units and 90 market-rate units, plus first-floor retail space for multiple tenants. Also includes separate four-story, 210-space parking ramp.
Schedule: Work began with demolition of five existing townhome buildings in October 2015. Full completion will take several years.
Developer: MHT Holdings Inc. and McGuire Development
Contractor: R&P Oak Hill
Cost: $200 million overall; $50 million for phase one.
Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital conversion
3 Gates Circle/1277 Delaware Ave., Buffalo
Building a six-story Canterbury Woods senior facility with 53 independent-living units and five assisted-living units, plus up to 500 condos, market-rate apartments and townhomes, grocery, fitness club and ground-floor retail stores spread among multiple buildings.
Schedule: Construction on Canterbury Woods will begin imminently, with completion in 2017. Remainder of project will take several years.
Developer: TM Montante Development and Episcopal Church Home and Affiliates
Contractor: Montante Construction, Ontario Specialty Contracting
Cost: $150 million, including $41 million for Canterbury Woods.
AM&A’s Department Store
377 Main St., Buffalo
New York City-based investor group will convert vacant store into 300-room hotel for Asian tour groups visiting Niagara Falls. Also includes 10-story atrium, two restaurants, six one-bedroom apartments, retail space, basement pool/spa and second-floor medical clinic. The developers plan to appeal to Chinese tourists interested in touring the region and receiving medical treatment.
Schedule: Uncertain. Asbestos abatement work, which will take several months, has not yet begun.
Developer: Landco H&L, New York, N.Y.
Contractor: TBD. (Design by John Schenne)
Cost: $50 million to $70 million.
Apartments @ Queen City Landing
975 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo
Convert the Freezer Queen building on the Outer Harbor into an apartment building with 120 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, including on penthouse level. Building a two-story addition on top of six-story building, expanding first floor. Plans include athletic facility, two restaurants, small deli, dock and covered parking.
Schedule: Work will start in spring 2016 and finish in spring 2017.
Developer: Gerald Buchheit and Melissa Baumgartner
Contractor: R&P Oak Hill. (Design by Trautman & Associates)
Cost: $40 million to $60 million.
Marine Trust (The Marin), Stanton (The Glenny) & Roblin (The Roblin) buildings
237, 241 and 251 Main St., Buffalo
Convert top five floors of 14-story Marine Trust into condominiums, with boutique hotel/banquet facility on first three floors, and commercial office space in between. Convert bottom two floors of seven-story Roblin into 49-space parking ramp for Marin residents, while upper floors remain commercial. Convert Stanton into The Glenny, with 36 loft apartments and office for Priam.
Schedule: Work began last year and will finish in three stages in spring and fall 2016.
Developer: Priam Enterprises LLC
Contractor: R&P Oak Hill
Cost: $48 million, including $11.7 million purchase.
Campus Walk One
643 Grant St., Buffalo
Planned new multi-phase student housing project for Buffalo State College. Construct two five-story student apartment buildings, with 80 three-bedroom and four-bedroom units, for 318 students.
Schedule: Work on first phase will begin in March or April 2016 and finish by August 2017.
Developer: Greenleaf Development
Contractor: Design by Kideney Architects
Cost: $25 million for first phase.
Freight House Landing
441 Ohio St., Buffalo
Construct five-story mixed-use residential building on Buffalo River, with 78 one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, plus commercial space on first floor and indoor parking. Includes boat slips for tenants and private boardwalk.
Schedule: Work is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
Developer: Frontier Group of Companies & Savarino Companies
Contractor: Savarino Companies. (Design by Chaintreul Jensen Stark)
Cost: $17 million.
Sample of other pending projects:
• 310 Rainbow, Niagara Falls
• Orchard Heights, Orchard Park
• Mesmer Building, Buffalo
• Niagara City Lofts, Niagara Falls
• Cold Spring, Buffalo
• 1360 Niagara, Buffalo
• The Evergreen Lofts Supportive Apartments, Buffalo
• Sinclair Building, Buffalo
• One Hundred on Forest, Buffalo
• P.S. 77, Buffalo
• Lofts at University Heights, Buffalo
• Hope Center at P.S. 57, Buffalo
• Midtown Apartments, Buffalo
• Highland Elementary conversion, Tonawanda