Press Pass: Concerns over the future of One Seneca Tower

Feb 23, 2016

The prospects for One Seneca Tower, Buffalo's tallest building, remain uncertain. "It's a big development headache," said Jim Fink of Business First during his monthly segment on WBFO's Press Pass. 

Credit WBFO News File Photo

The occupancy rate of the structure continues to hover around three percent.

"The appraisers appraised it at roughly $12 million. This is a building that not that long ago was assessed at $85 million."

In an effort to measure interest in One Seneca Tower, the owners of record have issued a first call for offers.

"If people are looking for an immediate answer from this first call for offers, it's not going to be there," Fink predicted.

"The biggest asset to the tower is the parking garage, which itself, will not be auctioned off until March third. Put the two together and you have a reasonable asset....Separate the two and the value of the tower continues to diminish."

Meanwhile, some older buildings are finding new life. Dignitaries were on hand last week for the ribbon cutting of 500 Seneca.

Fink calls it "a classic example of how through adaptive reuse and use of Brownfields and historic tax credits, Buffalo's biggest assets are these buildings that were built over a century or so ago that are ripe for redevelopment."

With nearly 400,000 square feet of space, the structure is now home to 16 businesses and, soon, to 98 apartments. The space is proving to be in high demand.

"Of the 98 apartments, 60 are completed, 60 are leased," Fink said.

Business First recently released its "Power 250," the list of the region's most influential people.

Fink says Terry and Kim Pegula are at the top of the list. They're followed by Jeremy Jacobs, Howard Zemsky, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Congressman Brian Higgins.