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Envisioning the future of One HSBC Center

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Buffalo: Envisioning the future of One HSBC Center
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A prominent feature of Buffalo's skyline is on its way to becoming mostly vacant, so there's a group of development experts in town this week to generate ideas for the future of One HSBC Center. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us more about what the panel from the Urban Land Institute is doing to help.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It's the tallest building in the state outside New York City, but One HSBC Center has a lot of space that won't be occupied for long.

"We have some events coming about later this year which will cause our building to go from an occupancy of greater than 90 percent to approximately 5 percent," said Stephen Fitzmaurice, COO of Seneca One Realty which owns the building.

"This is the heart of commerce in the region, downtown Buffalo, and I think it's important that we really look at future uses of this building in a very strategic way," said Byron Brown, Buffalo's mayor.

Both Fitzmaurice and the mayor say they're looking at this as an opportunity to reimagine One HSBC Center, and they've enlisted the help of the global non-profit, Urban Land Institute. An advisory panel is in town this week to come up with ideas for how to use the building and how it'll work with the community.

"The strengths of this building is great location, great views, great management, a community that has great leadership," said Charles Long, chair of the panel.

But it's also a 40-year-old structure.

"It would need attention in terms of updating it and making it modern in any case," said Long.

Fitzmaurice says Seneca One Realty envisions dividing the tower into thirds, with office and residential space and possibly a four- or five-star hotel.

"One of the things the panel's going to be looking at is the possibility of this floor being an observation deck and the 38th floor becoming a restaurant again," said Fitzmaurice, while on the 37th floor.

Long says the panel will spend time getting to know the building and doing interviews with stakeholders and local officials, then present its recommendations Thursday morning.

"Hopefully we leave with the community, good ideas that they're willing to spend their time and energy making work," said Long.

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