Analyst offers insight into One Seneca developer

Aug 17, 2016

Douglas Development, the Washington, D.C. developer that has purchased One Seneca Tower, has an impressive history of restoring old buildings. That record, says one observer, also comes with some concerns..


Douglas Development of Washington, D.C. is taking a shot at restoring Buffalo's tallest building.
Credit WBFO File Photo

The company refers to itself as a national "leader in redevelopment of historical properties," a reputation that should hearten those concerned over the future of Buffalo's tallest building. Their profile includes over 200 properties, covering 9 million square feet of space. 

However, Douglas Development has been criticized for holding properties for extended periods before moving forward.

"Douglas takes its time," said Michael Niebauer, senior reporter at the Washington Business Journal.

"That gets some people in the neighborhood riled up because they want to see action."

Still, Neibauer believes that won't be the case with One Seneca Tower.

"With a building of this size, you can't imagine they're going to want to pay real estate taxes and just sit on it for years and years," Neibauer said.

"This is going to cost a lot of money to sit on.  With a smaller building , you can see them sitting on it for a long time until the time is right."

Douglas Development is a privately-held company. Though its small, it has a reputation of being flexible.. 

"They're basically run by Douglas Jemal, who's been doing this for decades, and his sons," Neibauer added. 

"They make all the decisions and I think, maybe, that makes it easier for them. They're not an institutional, publicly-traded investor ."

Douglas Development did not respond to an interview request. In a written statement, the company said that with the purchase of One Seneca Tower, "we hope to guide the redevelopment to be representative of the 'new' Buffalo that we've fallen in love with."