As New York creaked back to life over the summer, several key development projects made steady—and highly visible—progress.

Seneca One

Douglas Jemel’s Douglas Development Corp. has undertaken a redesign of Buffalo’s largest building, the former HSBC tower. Changes and additions include apartments in its annex buildings; retail on the plaza; two clubhouses at the front entrance along Seneca Street; new driveways; new brick, stone, and windows; and—most noticeably—a new paint job. Most Seneca One tenants will be commercial. So far, the list includes M&T Bank Corp. as the anchor tenant, taking up two basement levels and eleven tower floors; local business incubator 43North; the Odoo technology firm; and Lighthouse Technology Services. There are also some exciting dining additions.

Whether you like the paint job or not (we do), this is an exciting reboot for a structure that was languishing embarrassingly in a prominent spot on the Buffalo skyline.

201 Ellicott

An infusion of affordable housing and fresh food is coming closer to completion at the edge of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. After a brief delay at the height of the pandemic, Ciminelli Real Estate is moving forward with decking, slab pours, metal framing, and masonry. When the complex is completed, it will include a 20,000-square-foot Braymiller Market (finished by next spring) and 201 affordable housing units (finished by next summer). The rental units go for $660 (one-bedroom) and $790 (two-bedroom), which is refreshingly affordable compared to the four-figure rates common in most new apartment complexes. Any market offering seasonal, local produce, as well as other fresh food, would be welcome in this area, but, with Braymiller, area residents are getting one of Western New York’s most respected brands. Braymiller Market has been a beloved staple in Hamburg for more than seventy years.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

After a seven-week delay (thanks, pandemic), the Albright-Knox continued work on its $165 million renovation and expansion project in July. Adjustments to the design include a new “headhouse” that connects the parking garage with the surface, but the overall plan remains the same: 30,000 square feet of gallery space in a new North Building, an underground parking lot, and a restored open lawn. The museum is to reopen in 2022 as the Buffalo AKG Art Museum. At press time, the massive hole that will become the new parking garage was the most visible part of the project. One of the overlooked benefits of this renovation is the AK Northland, which has added open, raw space perfect for ambitious installation projects (Swoon is on view now) and a new cultural institution to the East Side.

Elizabeth Licata is Editor-in-Chief of Buffalo Spree Magazine.

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