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Roar Logistics changes plans for Exchange Street project

A little extra research can go a long way.

Roar Logistics is redesigning its planned new headquarters on Exchange Street after a surprise discovery limited the amount of land available for the new building.

The Buffalo transportation company, owned by Rich Products Corp., received city approval in May to construct a two-story office building on the edge of Larkinville, on land owned by developers Chris Jacobs and Alan Dewart at 535 Exchange St.

Roar Logistics seeks office building in Larkinville

Plans by Carmina Wood Morris PC had called for a 12,020-square-foot facility, with a 67-space asphalt parking lot, on a polygon-shaped parcel next to the CSX railroad tracks at the intersection with Hamburg Street. The $2.61 million project even received $236,500 in property and sales tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency

But Roar has since discovered that CSX Corp. holds an "easement" across the property that reduces the area on which Roar can build. Additionally, the company added another 10 employees to its full-time staff, with potentially more coming, and now requires more space for its operations.

So officials decided to redesign the corrugated metal and glass building, shrinking the footprint but adding another floor. It's now a 14,900-square-foot, three-story building, with an irregular and jagged design as though it were put together with blocks. The configuration changed slightly for the 68-space parking lot.

Another look at Roar Logistics' planned new building.

"They needed to make the building a little bit bigger," said Jonathan Morris, partner at Carmina Wood.

The project received an initial look by the Buffalo Planning Board on Nov. 5, with a public hearing now scheduled for Nov. 19. If approved, Lamparelli Construction would complete the work over 12 months. Upon completion, Roar would purchase the facility from the developers.

Founded in 2003, Roar is a third-party transportation provider, offering truckload, intermodal rail and international freight-forwarding services. The company provides distribution support services for transportation clients, such as Domino Foods, Exxon-Mobil Corp., PepsiCo, Sahlen Packing, Rich Products, Archer Daniels Midland, Serta, Welch's and Ocean Spray.

Besides its headquarters here, the company also has offices in Georgia, Illinois, California and Texas. The company is led by Robert E. Rich III, and the name is an abbreviation for "rail, ocean, air and road."

Roar, which employed 43 in May with plans to add 14, intends to relocate from 9,000 square feet at its current site in the Adam's Mark Hotel on Church Street in downtown Buffalo.

Roar Logistics' planned new headquarters building on Exchange Street.

According to the IDA application, company officials wanted to stay in the city, but needed free or low-cost parking. The Exchange Street site is "one of the few sites that meets Roar's needs," it said.

Located next to the CSX railroad tracks in a "highly distressed" area, the vacant 0.92-acre site was part of a rail yard that ran along Exchange. Jacobs purchased the land from the city, which in turn had acquired it earlier from Conrail.

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