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Press Pass: Low expectations for Buffalo's tallest building

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Since HSBC Bank abandoned One Seneca Tower, prospects have been dim for the city's tallest structure. "By Halloween, you're going to be looking at a 38-story, almost one million-square foot, empty office building in downtown Buffalo," said Jim Fink. The Business First reporter offered his perspective during his monthly appearance on WBFO's Press Pass.

The building's owner has given the few remaining tenants 60 days to clear out their offices. Fink speculates that an empty building may be easier to sell; it certainly will cost less to maintain.

"There's nothing good about that scenario," said Fink. 

Some are wondering if demolition could be in the structure's future. Fink estimates that such a move would cost between $20 and $25 million, a price that may prove to be the best possible alternative for the downtown landmark.

While the future remains uncertain for the controversial Queen City Landing project at the Outer Harbor, developer Gerry Buchheit is moving forward. 

"As we speak, they are removing the asbestos from the old Freezer Queen building," Fink reported.  The cleanup continues despite an Article 78 legal move that might halt the entire project.

Fink also lamented the sale of locally-owned Realty USA to Howard Hanna, one of the nation's largest real estate companies. While control of the company will be centered elsewhere, Fink expects local agents "are still going to be aggressive. It's just going to be ratcheted up a few notches."