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Buffalo's newest hotel and mixed-use building opens for business

Ellicott Development has officially opened its newest property in downtown Buffalo. It's a unique mixed-use building in the heart of the Theater District.

The newest addition to the city's skyline is known as 500 Pearl. It combines the historic Buffalo Christian Center with a new 12-story tower, on the site of the former Bachelor Building, at the corner of Franklin and Tupper streets. Director of Operations Justin Zarnoch says the building is anchored on the top three floors by an Aloft Hotel.  
"It's one of Marriott's distinctive brands. So Aloft is definitely unique by design," Zarnoch said.

Credit Chris Caya WBFO News
Justin Zarnoch says the roof top bar will be open in time to take advantage of Buffalo's beautiful late spring weather

The stylish 110-guest rooms all have floor-to-ceiling windows and some rooms have walk-out balconies. The hotel is topped off with a roof-top bar that will open in May.  
"We have sweeping views of downtown Buffalo and Lake Erie. It's spectacular and on a nice clear day you easily see Canada and behind us, the wind farms in Strykersville."

The 9th floor of the tower has 14 luxury apartments.
"They are a higher end apartment, so the rents would correspond with that—anywhere from the low twos to the middle five-thousands."  

Zarnoch says on floors 7 and 8 there is 55,000 square feet of office space and on the 2nd through 6th floors there are around 400 parking spaces for tenants and guests.
"The ground floor of the new 12 story tower is the lobby for the Aloft Buffalo. We also have three commercial spaces. Two are being built out as restaurants, for local restaurants, and the third one is a commercial space," Zarnoch said.

The restaurants, facing Franklin Street, are expected to open in about six months. To compliment the new addition, the 100-year-old Buffalo Christian Center is being fully renovated.

A view from the mezzanine of the restored grand ballroom

"Where we're standing now is the mezzanine which overlooks the main floor of the ballroom. All original hardwood floors. All original windows. All reconditioned and repaired," Zarnoch said.  

The final room being upgraded is the Forbes Theater.

Credit Chris Caya WBFO News
After renovations are complete the Forbes Theater will retain its name

"We are working with a concert promoter. They will book talent and events in that space. Outside of those dates we will use that for weddings, corporate lectures, cocktail parties. The floor plan always remains open and there are 300 fixed balcony seats up above. So it's very flexible, probably our most flexible space in the building," Zarnoch said.

In the basement, there is a pool and fitness center and crews are installing an eight-lane bowling alley that should be open to the public this summer.      


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