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Meet the president of the D.C. company that bought One Seneca Tower

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.


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