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$18M Larkinville mixed-use development on fast track

Buffalo's Larkinville neighborhood has been hot for several years and the heat has intensified, with another residential project in the works.Leslie Zemsky says thre are now more people working in the community than when the former Larkin Soap Company was at its peak. The vice president of Larkin Development Group estimated there are 5,000 people working in the community.

As far as residents, there are a lot fewer. But Zemsky's group is planning an $18 million multiple-use project on Seneca Street with 70 new apartments, commercial and office spaces, while other developers have been adding residential.

Credit Schneider Architectural Services / Larkin Development Group
Larkin Development Group

"This is a 140,000-square-foot project and it's two wings, so it's really bringing what mixed-use means," Zemsky said. "We'll have 70 apartments, studios, one-bedroom and two-bedrooms. Also we will have storefronts along Seneca Street and then we have a wing for additional office space."

Zemsky said the neighborhood has reached the synergy stage. Architect Tom Kujawa said the project is on a fast track.

"We're going to register right away with the city and we want to continue the process on the approval," Kujawa said. "We're looking to start construction this spring, on some initial foundation work and utility site work, and that'll continue through 2019 until we roll the slabs of granite in."

Zemsky said the various projects in Larkinville are adding to each other, whether work, play or live because people can go from one to the other and commuters can slide on and off the Niagara Section of the New York State Thruway right there.

"What we found our whole building blocks since 2002 is rising tides lift all boats," Zemsky said. "So if we open a diner and a neighboring developer brings another office to their building, well that's fantastic. It helps the diner. We help a coffee shop down the street with more people who work there, more people who live there, that again, it helps everybody."

Credit Schneider Architectural Services / Larkin Development Group
Larkin Development Group

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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