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Shea's Seneca project gets green light from Planning Board

The remaining commercial building of the former Shea's Seneca Theatre will get a new lease on life.

The Buffalo Planning Board Monday night approved developer Jake Schneider's $9 million adaptive-reuse proposal to renovate the two-story building at 2178 Seneca St. into a mixed-use facility.

Plans call for 21 apartments, a new 136-seat black-box theatre for Second Generation Theatre Company, and the new Shea's Seneca Catering and banquet facility run by William and Molly Koessler, who already operate Acqua Restaurant and Events @ the Foundry. All but two of the apartments will be on the second floor. There will also be another 5,500 square feet of space for two storefronts.

Schneider is also seeking to restore the building's glory, including the two-and-a-half story, barrel-vaulted lobby ceiling and the old theater marquee that once lit up the street. The building was part of a larger movie house and entertainment venue built by Michael Shea in 1929, but the 2,500-seat theater was torn down in 1969, leaving a parking lot in back of the 1.8-acre property.

What It Looked Like Wednesday: Shea’s Seneca Theatre in South Buffalo

The developer is seeking state and federal historic tax credits, and applied for tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

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