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Construction wave shifting to downtown, Elmwood Village

Construction and development are expected to continue at a frenetic pace in Buffalo in 2018, as attention shifts from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to several major projects in downtown Buffalo and Elmwood Village, along with a host of smaller efforts in various parts of the city.

Here’s a look at what’s coming this year:

• One Seneca Tower: Washington developer Douglas Jemal will continue his remake of Buffalo’s tallest building, One Seneca Tower, into a mixed-use complex. Workers will continue their renovation of the two annex buildings on the plaza level while also constructing a pair of new buildings next to them with apartments, stores and restaurants. Jemal will tackle the tower itself later, as part of what he sees as a three- to five-year project that will cost upward of $125 million.

'Full steam ahead' as One Seneca Tower project gets Planning Board OK

• Gates Circle: TM Montante Development and Morgan Communities of Rochester are redeveloping the former site of Millard Fillmore Hospital at Gates Circle into Lancaster Square, a $110 million project with up to 500 residences, plus retail. Additionally, Episcopal Church Home & Affiliates opened its $41 million Canterbury Woods facility at 3 Gates Circle, while People Inc. is working to erect a three-story senior housing building at 637 Linwood.

• Highland Park Village: Construction has begun on the 27.1-acre former Central Park Plaza site, where a developer group led by Louis P. Ciminelli and his company, LPCiminelli, is working to transform the now-demolished and cleared property into a new housing community. Plans for the $90 million project call for a total of 663 residential units.

Neighborhood rises where blighted Central Park Plaza once stood

• Children’s Hospital reuse: Now that Oishei Children’s Hospital is open, the old Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo campus in the Elmwood Village is primed for redevelopment. Developers Nick Sinatra and William Paladino took control of the property and are planning an $80 million to $110 million project to convert the 8-acre site into a mostly residential community. Plans for the seven buildings, parking lots and other facilities call for a mix of condominiums and townhomes for sale, rental apartments for lease, a hotel, an unspecified urban grocery store, some commercial or office space, storefronts and restaurants, and a day care.

• Trico: Krog Corp. in 2017 finally purchased the sprawling former Trico Products Corp. building at 791 Washington St., on the edge of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The approved plans call for an $87.1 million mixed-use redevelopment, featuring a new 120-room extended-stay hotel operated by Hart Hotels, plus 185 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom loft-style market-rate apartments.

• 500 Pearl: Now under construction, Ellicott Development is building a new 12-story, mixed-use tower complex on a vacant former surface parking lot located next to the Buffalo Christian Center. The $75 million tower will feature a hotel, apartments, office space, retail and parking.

Ellicott's 500 Pearl project on track for September completion

• AM&A’s: A Chinese investment group based in New York City is spending as much as $70 million to renovate the long-vacant former AM&A’s department store building at 377 Main St. into a new 340-room Wyndham Buffalo Hotel, aimed largely at Asian tour groups visiting Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

• Queen City Landing: Work has not yet begun on a planned 23-story glass apartment tower on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, on the former Freezer Queen site. Developer Gerald Buchheit has received municipal approvals for the $60 million Apartments at Queen City Landing project, but is waiting on a court ruling in a lawsuit against the city before he can proceed beyond the demolition and brownfield cleanup.

Appeals court upholds Queen City Landing approvals

• Our Lady of Lourdes: Ellicott Development is beginning work on a redevelopment of the former Our Lady of Lourdes Church and surrounding property near downtown. The developer is erecting a six-story commercial building just south of the church. That $45 million project will feature retail, office space on the first floor and five floors of medical or office space above. The developer also won city approval to renovate the century-old church itself into a $4 million mixed-use facility.

• Elmwood-Forest condos: Demolition and environmental cleanup work has begun on the Elmwood Village site of a 40-unit condominium project by developer Chason Affinity Cos. The site included 11 properties at the corner of Elmwood and Forest avenues, and required eight zoning variances, including for height and width of the building. Many neighbors complained that it violated the city’s new Green Code and should not have been allowed. Two neighbors filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the city approvals, but have so far been stymied in the courts. An appeal is planned.

Chason starts demolition for Elmwood-Forest condo project

• Mentholatum: Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. is converting the historic Mentholatum headquarters building on Niagara Street – later used by Garrett Leather Co. – into a new apartment building, appropriately dubbed “The Mentholatum.” With its riverfront views, the $19 million project at 1360 Niagara will include 49 apartments.


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