BUFFALO -- The City of Buffalo Planning Board gave the thumbs up to developer Sam Savarino Tuesday to move forward with plans to redevelop a building at 500 Seneca Street
Developer Sam Savarino said, "It's been abandoned since 2004 and we plan to turn it into office space."
Once the F.N. Burt Co., then New Era Cap Company, the building has been vacant for eight years. Savarino hopes to breathe new life into the more than 300,000 square foot building and surrounding area. It will create new office, retail, and museum space.
Buffalo Common Council member David Franczyk said, "This is the model of the renovations we should be doing because we have a lot of buildings like this and we don't want to tear them down if we don't have to."
The project will cost an estimated at $35-million. The building is near what's now known as "Larkinville", a huge renovation in the Larkin District.
"We look at this as an extension to the Larkin District towards downtown Buffalo. It's right on the edge of the district," Savarino said.
The project has received the approval of neighbors, the Common Council, and now the Buffalo Planning Board, but it may already be in jeopardy before it gets started thanks to what's known in Washington, D.C. as the "fiscal cliff.'"
"Federal and State Tax Credits are on the table," said Councilman Franczyk. "The Federal Tax Credits, if they go over the fiscal cliff, could be wiped out and that's a scary thing. That could inhibit development all over the country, especially here in the city of Buffalo.
Officials are hoping it doesn't come to that. They're planning a Spring groundbreaking, with the first tenants moving in next Fall.