Work to begin on former AM&A's building in downtown Buffalo

Dec 30, 2015

There's been a major step forward in efforts to redevelop the former AM&A's department store in Downtown Buffalo.

The former AM&A's department store in downtown Buffalo
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

The landmark store structure hasn't been used since 1999 when Taylor's closed its short-lived operation in the building. Since then, there have been a variety of proposals for the complicated structure, including as a school.

Now, Chinese investors want to turn it into 300 hotel rooms and two-restaurants, principally for Chinese tourists. Plans are to start major cleanup and demolition early next year, with power connected to start the work.

"There's a gap on Main Street, right now, and it's a huge vacant department store and the good news is that it seems like it's moving in the right direction," says Buffalo Place Executive Director Michael Schmand. "As I've been told or I read today, they have turned the electric on and they're moving forward with bringing the contractors in to remove the asbestos. To me, that's moving in the right direction."

Asbestos abatement is the priority and that couldn't be done without electricity and the existing power lines ran into an area filled with asbestos. Finally, a deal was worked out to install temporary power connections to allow that electric vault to be abated. Once that occurs, major demolition and cleanup can start.