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Shea's Seneca lands coffeehouse, bar, florist, tacos

Schneider Development is lining up tenants for the remake of the Shea's Seneca Theatre in South Buffalo – bringing a coffeehouse, bar, florist and taco restaurant to the historic building that will soon house 23 apartments.

Public Expresso Coffee, run by Sam Scarcello, and Bottle Rocket, led by Billy Lewis and Nate Manna, will occupy two of the four remaining retail spaces in the 48,500-square-foot building. It is being redeveloped by Jake Schneider's firm.

The coffee shop, which operates in the Hotel @ the Lafayette, will offer a small cocktail bar along with java.

Bottle Rocket will sell craft beer and provide music in a 1,500-square-foot space.

There are no additional modifications to the overall site plan, which was approved by the city last year.

Both users require special-use permits from the Buffalo Common Council for alcohol sales. Those will be reviewed Tuesday by the Council's legislative committee after the Planning Board recommended approval Monday.

April Spencer Florist, which provides floral designs for weddings, and a taco eatery will take up the other two retail spaces.

Molly Koessler – who operates Acqua Restaurant, Hotel @ the Lafayette and Events @ the Foundry – will run a catering and banquet facility as the building's anchor tenant.

"This project is turning out to be a real home run," said architect Thomas Kujawa of Schneider Design.

Schneider is spending $9.5 million to renovate the two-story building at 2178 Seneca St., originally part of the movie house and entertainment venue built by Michael Shea in 1929.

The 2,500-seat theater was torn down in 1969. Schneider is renovating the remaining structure into residential and retail space.

The exterior of Shea's Seneca Theatre today. (News file photo)


Demolition and construction work began seven months ago. Officials hope to finish by August or September.

"It's all interior," said Planning Board member Martha Lamparelli. "It is definitely going to light up Seneca Street."

Ginzy's is out, but Shea's Seneca to include banquets, apartments

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