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M&T plans 12-foot illuminated sign in Larkinville

KeyCorp might no longer be the only bank with its marquee name plastered on a building in Larkinville, easily seen from cars on the Niagara Thruway.

M&T Bank Corp. is looking for some new visibility for its longtime presence in the Larkin Center of Commerce, where it is the anchor tenant with 250,000 square feet of leased space. That's almost the equivalent of what it has in its headquarters building, One M&T Plaza, downtown, according to Keith Belanger, the bank's senior vice president for corporate services.

Half of its space in the Larkin building is used to store records, Belanger said. The other half is built out with 750 seats, although only 600 employees currently work in the space, mostly in the bank's risk division. Hence M&T's desire to put its name outside, given that "significant presence and our normal business practice to brand such facilities," Belanger said.

The Buffalo-based bank wants to erect a roof frame and 12-foot high illuminated sign on top of the sixth floor of the office and light industrial complex at 701 Seneca St. That's the portion of the 1.3-million-square-foot building that is lower than the rest of the eight-story facility.

The new green sign, which measures 67 feet by 12 feet, will project no more than 7 feet above the roof. Two "blade" signs will also be installed on the facade, between the second and third floors.

The effort has taken "longer than usual" to design and engineer because of the size of the building, Belanger said. M&T received approval for the signage last week from the Buffalo Preservation Board, but still needs a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals. "That said, we are confident that when all approvals have been secured and the signage has been erected, the end product will have been worth the wait," Belanger said.

The Larkin Center of Commerce is adjacent to the better-known Larkin at Exchange Building at 726 Exchange, on which Cleveland-based Key already has its name and logo along the roof line, reflecting the bank's regional headquarters and significant operations inside the building. First Niagara Financial Group previously had its sign up until that Buffalo-based bank was acquired by Key.

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