Buffalo News Business Reporter Jonathan D. Epstein interviewed Douglas Jemal, founder and president of Washington, D.C.-based Douglas Development Corp., which has signed an agreement to purchase One Seneca Tower. It has undertaken a number of historic building developments in Washington, D.C.
Buffalo News: Who is Douglas Development Corp.?
Douglas Jemal: We’re a privately run development company, predominantly in the D.C. metro area.
BN: What attracted you to One Seneca Tower?
DJ: I’m attracted to urban environments that need revitalization.
Seneca One is extremely challenging. It’s stuff that I love to do. I think it’s Mount Rushmore, it’s the Empire State Building, it’s the Eiffel Tower. It’s a very significant building for downtown Buffalo.
I was very attracted to that property because of the size of it and the challenges that it had. That’s what I love to do.
It’s an iconic building. Does it need some lipstick on it, some updates? Absolutely. But the building itself is a magnificent structure.
BN: Will this deal actually happen?
DJ: It’s a firm contract. We’re ready to go. We are armed and ready. This deal’s going down, my friend. It’s not a rumor.
There is nothing to fear but fear itself. This is what we do. This is what this company does.
BN: What are your plans?
I’m planning to do lots of retail. I want to make the building pedestrian-friendly, and right now it’s not.
The rest of the building will probably be mixed-use, probably along the lines of what the rumors have been: one-third residential, one-third office, and one-third hotel.
We just put the building under contract last week, so it’s early. But we’re familiar with that business.