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Best looking historic building 

Martin House Complex


Now in the final restoration push, this magnificent piece of landmark architecture is finally looking as it must have when Frank Lloyd Wright completed it. It’s not done, but now the timeline is down to the last two years of work, finishing up with the exterior landscape. 


Best looking new building 

Delaware North Global Corporate Headquarters


For such a mammoth structure, it’s surprisingly inviting—and the interior is even more impressive than the exterior. In addition to the Delaware North offices on the top floors, 250 Delaware will house additional office space, a restaurant and a Westin Hotel, all expected to be online later this year. The twelve-story building fits in well on downtown Delaware Avenue, where it is joined by sizeable neighbors, and the view from the top floors offers a magnificent panorama—thanks to 2,700 glass panels. Credit goes to developer Uniland, architects Nedlaw, Diamond Schmitt Architects,  local firm Hamilton Houston Lownie, and Botanicus, which created the magnificent living wall in the lobby.


Best makeover of an existing building 

500 Seneca


This complex is a huge win for the Hydraulics District, thanks to developer Savarino Companies and Frontier Group. The former F. N. Burt box-making plant (1901-27) is now the largest loft apartment space in the city and has 180,000-square-feet of office space. There is also a beautiful atrium with a magnificent sculpture by artist Shasti O’Leary Soudant.


Best sight you won’t see anywhere but here 

View from Marriott Harborcenter hotel lounge over Canalside and Lake Erie

There is now natural beauty, new construction, and plenty of human activity to be seen where there was once little more than highway overpasses and parking lots. In summer or winter, these windows overlook a colorful and vibrant panorama of skaters/strollers/paddlers/kayakers, an interesting built environment, and the beautiful blue waters beyond.


Best new construction (2015) 

University at Buffalo Jacob’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences


We never got UB downtown, but we’re getting this: a huge presence right on Main Street as an important anchor for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. This transforms the campus as well as provides a big boost to UB’s academic profile. The 628,000-square-foot facility, designed by HOK and bult by LPCiminelli,  is scheduled to open in 2017. 


Best preservation project (2015) 

Phoenix Brewery Apartments


In yet another important conversion of a former industrial space, thirty-one apartments are planned for this distinctive Washington Street landmark (just north of Trico). The Medina sandstone brewery was built by Philadelphia architect Otto Wolf in 1887, after the Albert Ziegle brewery burned down; its replacement was therefore named the Phoenix. Post-brewery, the building has been a gym, skate park, and La-Z-Boy furniture warehouse, among other uses. The developer is Sinatra and Company Real Estate; the architects are Carmina Wood Morris. 


PHOTO: chastity o'shei


Best use of taxpayer dollars 



Funded as it is by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, an entity of New York State, Canalside exists almost solely thanks to government support. Sure, there’s been private investment, but without Albany’s help, Canalside does not exist. It doesn’t matter whether you think your taxes should pay for a major amenity like this or not. You are welcome to come on down and enjoy the facilities. 


PHOTO: Elizabeth Licata


Best nature preserve 

Beaver Meadow Audubon Center


This preserve offers top-notch bird-watching in any season, tranquil walks in summer, a great boardwalk trail, and an arboretum. There are also fun activities for children, including a summer camp. Year after year, we prefer to recognize the efforts of Buffalo’s Audubon Society, founded in 1909, for its ongoing dedication to promoting the appreciation and enjoyment of the natural world. In addition to Beaver Meadow, there are six additional preserves.


Most sustainable project 

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s waterway remediation efforts


Access to the water means nothing if our waterways and shorelines are environmental dead zones. For seventeen years—initially as Friends of the Buffalo River—BNRK has continued to expand its mission, which now includes the Buffalo River, Cayuga Creek, Eighteenmile Creek, Niagara River, Outer Harbor, and Scajaquada Creek. It’s a big job, but there have been many successes. With the help of many partners, BNRK is a major force in bringing our waterways back to life.




Best wildlife habitat project

Urban Habitat Project

Central Terminal

Five years into its installation, the project that was once—literally—seeds in David Majewski’s hands is now a three-acre ecological classroom, home to native wildflowers and shrubs, trees, birds, bees, beneficial insects, and a wide range of mammals. There are even resident toads and frogs. The site absorbs approximately 320,000 gallons of storm water and provides much-needed winter food and nesting sites for birds. Majewski has moved on to other, bigger projects, but the UHP remains as a unique source of education and enjoyment.


Best nature walk 

Sargeant  Mark A. Rademacher Memorial Park/Hunters Creek 

This South Wales nature trail has been an Erie County park since the late 1970s and is now designated a conservation park, which makes it perfect for nature lovers. The five-point-two mile loop offers plenty of scenic beauty, including a deep gorge, waterfall, ravines,  second-growth forest, as well as wildflowers and birds. The trails are clearly marked, the water is sparkling, the trees tower overhead. What more could you ask for?


Best At A Glance


Best looking historic building Martin House Complex Darwinmartinhouse.org

Best looking new building Delaware North Global Corporate Headquarters delawarenorth.com/venues/global-corporate-headquarters

Best makeover of an existing building 500 Seneca 500seneca.com

Best sight you won’t see anywhere but here View from Marriott Harborcenter hotel lounge over Canalside and Lake Erie

Best new construction (2015) University at Buffalo Jacob’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences medicine.buffalo.edu

Best preservation project (2015) Phoenix Brewery Apartments sinatraandcompany.com

Best use of taxpayer dollars Canalside canalsidebuffalo.com

Best nature preserve Beaver Meadow Audubon Center buffaloaudubon.org

Most sustainable project Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s waterway remediation efforts bnriverkeeper.org

Best wildlife habitat project Urban Habitat Project

Best nature walk Sargeant  Mark A. Rademacher Memorial Park/Hunters Creek 


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