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M&T CFO: No change in plans to open tech hub at Seneca One

M&T CFO: No change in plans to open tech hub at Seneca One

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M&T plans to restart construction of its new tech hub inside the Seneca One tower within a week.

"We are committed to advancing the M&T Tech Hub at Seneca One," said Julia Berchou, a bank spokeswoman.

When complete, M&T's tech hub will fill 11 stories of the tower, plus two floors on the plaza level. The bank plans to centralize its technology development there and wants like-minded tenants to move into Seneca One, as well. M&T's project is a driving force in the revival of Seneca One under the property's owner, Douglas Jemal.

M&T stopped the project in March as the state implemented restrictions on construction due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, crews were just weeks away from starting to install furniture in the tower floors, Berchou said. The bank also had a "running start" on the pedestal level construction.

"We expect that we will be back on the site within a week, remobilizing the trades and again advancing our program," Berchou said. "We could not be more excited to get back to work."

Now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has authorized construction in the region to resume, "we will begin working with our construction manager and suppliers to formulate a plan to return to the job site, one that complies with any and all requirements to ensure a safe workplace," Berchou said this week.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, M&T had planned to have 1,000 employees working at Seneca One by midyear. Longer-range plans called for having 1,500 employees on site within three years.

While the construction timeline has shifted, M&T has affirmed its commitment to the project.

"There's no change in our plans to open up the hub," Darren King, M&T's chief financial officer, said last month. "There's no change in our plans to change the size of the hub. Everything is the exactly as it was, just with a little pause in the middle."

An M&T task force is looking at a wide range of issues related to bringing employees back to offices. One of those issues is the new timeline for moving employees into the tech hub, Berchou said.

The tech hub's design calls for an open format, a departure from the old-style layout that favored cubicles and private offices.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, employers are thinking about how to keep workers safely separated once they return to offices. M&T's task force will address that issue, too, Berchou said.

But she noted the tech hub's layout was already designed to be flexible and to incorporate more square footage per person, to create a less-dense working environment.

Most M&T employees are working from home.

The bank also reported this week that as of May 11, it had secured about $7 billion in funding through the federal Paycheck Protection Program for nearly 32,300 small businesses employing more than 718,000 people.

In the Buffalo Niagara region, 4,765 PPP loans worth $945 million were approved through M&T as of May 11, affecting 118,838 employees.

M&T 'tech hub' driving Seneca One tower's revival




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