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Six-story $7.25M renovation planned for Michigan-Seneca building

Carmina Wood Morris
Ellicott Development
Rendering of the building

As Buffalo has developed in recent years, the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Seneca Street is starting to turn into the same business node many other areas of the city. Now, a very old building that has been standing empty for a long time at that corner is going to get a new life as a mix of office space and three floors of apartments.The major attraction has long been the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum, with its gradual expansion. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is across Michigan, in the rear of a complex of structures that once housed Buffalo Envelope.

Across the street is the former Seneca Plumbing complex, which Ellicott Development has renovated and rebuilt, including some residential space. Now, the company wants to renovate the six-story building at the corner into commercial and residential property.

Development Director Tom Fox explained to the city Planning Board what is planned.

Credit Ellicott Development
The renovation project is in the heart of expanding development on the edge of downtown Buffalo.

"The first three floors, commercial office space and then the upper three floors, two apartments per floor, for a total of six apartments up there," said Fox. "In total, the building is about 25,000 square feet in size. In addition to that, at the rear of the property, in this location all the way back, we are proposing construction of a parking deck, about 96 vehicles."

Ellicott is also before the Preservation Board to knock down an old and worn building on the site that once housed a livery stable and then a garage.

Fox said the complex will take about a year to renovate and cost around $7.25 million. The apartments will be fairly large, with each of the upper three floors holding a 1,900-square-foot two-bedroom and a 1,000-square-foot one-bedroom unit.

Pierce Arrow owner Jim Sandoro is supporting the plan and its new parking deck, but expressed concerns to the city Planning Board about sewer capacity in the immediate area.

"In the past, we have had severe flooding on Exchange Street and Carroll Street into the museum and some of the other parcels, so I'm a little with concerned with putting a deck up there," said Sandoro, "and maybe you should talk to the sewer authority about that and find out, because the Hamburg Drain still runs underneath, below the Michigan Avenue Bridge, and that's where this was all flooded at one time."

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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