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Martin Group to move into new Main Street headquarters

The Martin Group, the fast-growing, locally based marketing and public relations firm, will move into its new headquarters in downtown Buffalo next week.

The communications firm, owned and run by Tod Martin, is wrapping up the final pieces of its $2.25 million historic renovation of a three-story, 18,000-square-foot building at 620 Main, in the heart of Buffalo's Theater District. Designed by Esenwein & Johnson and built in 1919, the neoclassical Roman-style building features four main columns above the entrance, with paneled pilasters, ornamental iron railings, a pediment and dentils.

The building, which once housed the offices of Levy King & White, will be the base for Martin's business, which is in three different facilities after the company experienced rapid growth through acquisitions in the past three years. More than 50 employees in marketing, advertising, branding, digital media and public relations roles will move into the new space. A separate office is located in Rochester.

Martin purchased the building for $1.3 million from Howard Zemsky and Joseph Petrella's Larkin Development Group, and then launched an extensive interior renovation, designed by Cannon Design and performed by Lehigh Construction Group. Crews also touched up the outside, repairing chipped stone but otherwise maintaining the appearance. "It was in pretty good shape," Martin said.

The move is occurring alongside a rebranding of the firm, so new signage will go up, mostly in the back of the building, where it faces Pearl Street. However, the Levy King & White name and the LKW initials on a rosetta will remain on the front as a symbol of the legacy firm that was later acquired by Syracuse-based Eric Mower & Associates. The last major renovation of the building was in 1985.

"We're sort of paying homage to a great advertising history that's been through these doors," Martin said.

The upstairs offices, cubicles and other work space are largely complete. Crews are working to put the finishing touches on the brightly lit, open lobby that extends from Main Street to a back entrance to a 10-space rear parking area.

Inside, the lobby area includes a long reception desk in the middle to greet people coming from either side, as well as glass-enclosed conference rooms, meeting spaces and "collaboration" areas. Two corner waiting areas each have a set of four monitors that can either display separate images, videos or other visuals or combine as one large screen. Another section includes a high counter, bar stools, a wine cooler and an ice machine, for entertaining. And there's a media studio for videography, photos and client interviews.

The design also features dropped-cloud ceilings to hide the old ductwork, plus modern lighting, clean lines, dark-concrete floors, hardwood wallpaper and other "eclectic features." And the outdated and thick metal railings that used to line the balconies above are now gone, replaced with glass for a more airy feel.

"There's the warehousy concrete floors and there's the high-end sophistication of some of the fixtures and treatments and glass walls that makes you feel like you're in Toronto, Boston or New York City," martin said.

The building also includes a functional sub-level, accessible down a glass-enclosed staircase from the main lobby.

The project benefited from state and federal historic tax credits, with help from Preservation Studios.

A formal ribbon-cutting will be held Monday morning.

Martin Group acquiring landmark building on Main Street

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