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McGuire unveils Compass East Phase 2 plans

McGuire Development Co. plans to build a three-story office building on Michigan Avenue aimed at businesses that want to be downtown but also need abundant parking and access to area highways.

The real estate development company on Monday announced formal plans for the second phase at its Compass East project in downtown Buffalo, adding a second building to its successful redevelopment of the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital.

McGuire, the real estate arm of nursing home company McGuire Group, wants to construct a 48,000-square-foot building at 425 Michigan Ave., across the parking lot from Compass East. The firm, which had previously disclosed its plans, is submitting its $8.5 million proposal to the Buffalo Planning Board later this week.

The building would be geared mostly for office space, with some possible retail stores on the first floor, such as for a coffee shop, McGuire Development President James Dentinger said. As with the original Compass East, the new project would be primarily aimed at businesses that want to be in downtown Buffalo, but also need abundant free parking and convenient, quick access to both the Kensington Expressway and the Niagara Thruway.

"If you're a service company that wants to be in the city but wants to have a sales team or service team able to service clients very quickly and effectively, this is the location for them," Dentinger said. "One of the issues that we've heard in downtown Buffalo is a lot of people want to move or expand in the city, but accessibility and serviceability has become an issue if you're that kind of business."

Dentinger said officials are currently talking to "a large potential tenant" and a few smaller ones, but no leases have been signed yet. He would not identify any of the businesses, but said one would be an expansion from Compass East, while a second is a current tenant at another McGuire site and a third would be completely new.

The unveiling of the new building comes as the original $10.5 million Compass East is now fully occupied by tenants including Bak USA, Spectrum Business Class, the McGuire Group Training Center, University Pediatric Dentistry and the Center for Development of Human Services, a social-work training program of the Research Foundation for the State University of New York at Buffalo State College.

In particular, the fast-growing Bak just increased its space by 18,000 square feet for a total of 45,500 square feet. Now, only about 1,000 square feet of space remains available at the former 170,000-square-foot hospital building, so McGuire needed to make more space available to potential clients. The firm also decided to move forward with the second phase based on the success of other redevelopment projects downtown.

Interior plans have not yet been finalized, but the gray exterior would be constructed of a mix of a single-skin aluminum pre-fabricated panel system, along with a fiber cement panel system interwoven with aluminum storefronts. Dentinger said officials have also met with neighbors to alert them of the plans.

If approved by the city, the project - designed by Kideney Architects - is set to begin construction in the fall, with an opening after nine months.




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