While some of the region's biggest development projects have already wrapped up, there's no shortage of new construction and renovation activity heading toward completion in 2019 and beyond.
The last few years have seen work completed on large-scale projects as HarborCenter at Canalside, RiverBend in South Buffalo, the Delaware North Building at 250 Delaware, and the new Conventus Building, Oishei Children's Hospital and University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Late last year, Pegula Sports and Entertainment opened its Labatt House building at 79 Perry St., while Ellicott Development Co. puts the final touches on its 500 Pearl project, a 12-story downtown tower with a new hotel, apartments, office space, retail space and even a bowling alley. It's expected to open in February.
Yet those represent only a handful of the dozens and dozens of projects in the area. Here's a look at some of what's to come in 2019.
One Seneca Tower
Washington, D.C., developer Douglas Jemal last year kicked off his $120 million remake of Buffalo's tallest building. Jemal has largely completed the first two phases, bringing 115 new apartments to the two four-story Annex Buildings, while constructing two new one-story retail buildings on the plaza level. Now he's converting significant parts of the two basement levels – which are above-ground along Pearl, Washington and Exchange streets – into more than 100,000 square feet of new commercial space, expected to finish by June. Plans for the rest of the tower are still to come, but Jemal has been moving quickly.
The Northland complex
The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. is spending more than $120 million in state, local and other funds to turn a 35-acre swath of industrial land into a light-industrial economic development hub that will bring jobs and investment to an impoverished East Side neighborhood. The project is anchored by the Western New York Workforce Training Center, which opened in September, along with a new location for Gigi's restaurant. That facility, which occupies part of the former Niagara Machine & Tool Works facility at 683 Northland Ave., will be joined this year by Buffalo Manufacturing Works and other commercial tenants that will take up space in various buildings around the campus.
TM Montante Development already has received approval for its first building at the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital site – a six-story structure at 1299 Delaware with 60 apartments and commercial space. But first it must extricate itself from a troubled financial partnership with developer Robert C. Morgan of Rochester. Until that's done, its $110 million plan for Lancaster Square – including purchase of a parking ramp from the city – is in limbo, causing consternation for Canterbury Woods next door, as well as for People Inc., which is finishing its own 37-unit senior housing project nearby. Meanwhile, across Delaware Avenue at 33 Gates Circle, Uniland Development Co. is pursuing a 12-unit town house project that has also been approved.
The planned $100 million redevelopment of the eight-acre former Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo campus in the Elmwood Village is now underway by Nick Sinatra and William Paladino, who received approval last year for the first building – a new five-story structure with 22 apartments, one floor of office space, and some ground-floor retail space. Overall, the developers plan to transform the 600,000-square-foot complex into more than 220 apartments, 27 condominiums, 22 town houses, a 75-room hotel, an urban grocery, boutique shops, office space and an EduKids day care center. About 20 percent of the apartments will be affordable to those earning 80 percent of the area median income.
Queen City Landing
Gerald Buchheit has completed the cleanup and site preparation work for his $85 million residential project at 975 Fuhrmann Blvd., at the Outer Harbor, but he is still waiting to clear the final legal hurdles put up by environmentalists before he can start construction. Plans call for a 23-story, glass-walled apartment tower, with 198 units, two restaurants and a pool.
AM&A's Department Store
After completing a long asbestos cleanup that endured fits and starts through two remediation firms, the Queens, N.Y.-based investment group that owns the former department store at 377 Main St. is facing new financial questions about its ability to complete its $70 million conversion of the vast 10-story complex into the new Wyndham Buffalo Hotel. Plans call for more than 300 guest rooms, two restaurants, a nightclub, banquet space, retail space, a pool and spa. The Chinese-backed developer group has already carved a pair of new atriums into the center of the 375,000-square-foot complex, while also repairing exterior brick work, and will be moving on to interior framing. But the developer now is facing a possible foreclosure after allegedly missed a deadline to make a roughly $2 million final payment on its mortgage.
Stuart Alexander & Associates and Rhonda Ricks are spending $50.7 million to convert the vacant former Buffalo Forge Manufacturing Co. plant at 490 Broadway into a new residential community, with 158 affordable apartments and some retail space in the two-building main complex. About 80 percent of the apartments will be reserved for residents earning at or below 60 percent of the median income, while the rest will be for those earning at or below 80 percent of the median. Additional components are planned for two other sections of the 11-acre property.
Jefferson Avenue Apartments
Nonprofit People Inc. are teaming up with developers Nick Sinatra and David Pawlik for a $31 million project to construct a pair of three-story apartment buildings at 1140 and 1166 Jefferson, with 89 affordable apartments. The project, which kicked off in December, is one of several along a multiblock stretch of Jefferson Avenue.
After winning hard-fought city approvals, Chason Affinity Cos. is moving ahead with its $30 million condominium project at Elmwood and Forest avenues, with 33 one- and two-story units and seven walk-up town homes, plus retail space and parking. Demolition and cleanup work was completed last year.
Pierce Arrow Administration Building
Dr. Greg Daniel's Nidus Development is spending $30 million to renovate the 123,099-square-foot former office building at 1695 Elmwood into 105 luxury loft apartments, along with a proposed 100-seat restaurant and event center occupying the domed auditorium on the second floor that used to be a company dining hall. A second building, at 1721 Elmwood, will become a parking facility for the project.
LPCiminelli is also continuing work on its $90 million remake of the 27-acre former Central Park Plaza site into a new residential community, dubbed Highland Park, with more than 663 new apartments, town homes and for-sale homes. Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. is finalizing its proposal for 201 Ellicott St., where it wants to construct a multistory building with 201 affordable apartments and an unspecified fresh-food market, but not a previously proposed parking facility.
And there's more, including the $28 million conversion by Norstar Development USA and the Western New York Veterans Housing Coalition of former School 78 into affordable veterans housing; Dr. Fadi Dagher's $25 million five-story building with 215 apartments and commercial space on the former Buffalo Tourist Lodge site at 1159 Main; Ciminelli's $20 million West End town house project at Waterfront Village; Ellicott Development's $7 million Cooperage project; or the $4.2 million renovation of the former Buffalo Color site by Jon Williams' South Buffalo Redevelopment.