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Retail, offices and apartments OK'd for former Seneca Plumbing building

A vacant plumbing supply store on Seneca Street will get new life as retail, office and apartments under a plan by Ellicott Development Co.

The developer received approval from the Buffalo Planning Board Monday to renovate the three-story former Seneca Plumbing building at 192 Seneca St.

The project will also need a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals, but otherwise is cleared for work to begin "right away," said Tom Fox, the company's director of development.

The $5 million project entails retail and office space on the first floor of the 15,000-square-foot building, offices on the second floor and four apartments on the third. There are no internal stairs connecting the second and third floors, but there will be an elevator and Ellicott Development will add an emergency staircase on the outside of the historic building.

"It is so important for this building to be reused and brought back to life," said Planning Board Vice Chair Cynthia Schwartz.

The project was first introduced last October, but was held up by discussions between Ellicott officials and the city's Department of Public Works concerning seven parking spaces in front of the building and along Butler Place. Those issues were not resolved, leading to the variance request.

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