Press Pass: Pessimistic prospects for One Seneca Tower

Sep 22, 2015

While development in downtown Buffalo has been booming, there is one large exception to the trend. The city's tallest building, One Seneca Tower, remains largely undeveloped. "Wish I could write some sort of happy ending to this, but I just don't see it," said Jim Fink of Business First on WBFO's Press Pass.


Fink has low expectations as the building goes on the auction block on October 1st.

"I think L & R, the people who own the mortgage, will end up back with the building. Remember almost $91 million is owed in back mortgages, fees, penalties, etcetera. They're not going to accept a pennies-on-the-dollar bid."

The former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital has been closed for some time. Come October 3rd, an implosion is scheduled at the massive structure.

"It's the most visible sign of the transformation of that property," Fink said. TM Montante is investing $150 million into redeveloping the site.

"Canterbury Woods is coming in with senior independent housing that will be pretty much on the footprint of where the hospital building is now. There's going to be a grocery store, roughly 20-to-25,000 square feet. The YMCA is 65,000 square feet. Then, a smattering of residential units."

Ellicott Development sought a tax break for its project to restore the vacant School 56 on West Delevan into 33 market-rate apartments. According to Jim Fink, the tax breaks were denied by a "no" vote from ECIDA board member Frank Mesiah.

"My issue here is that Frank Mesiah couldn't separate his personal disdain for Carl Paladino versus his professional responsibility as an ECIDA director to look at the project, not the person behind the project," Fink said.

"You have to look at the project on its merits. He didn't."