A 'town square' for the Larkin District is shaping up. Construction is taking place on every corner of the Swan/Seneca/Emslie street intersection. Larkin Development Group has three projects underway and recently completed two residential units at its Schaefer Building.
The circa-1930 Larkin Gas Station is under renovation. Long hidden behind white panels, the refurbished brick building will house a café with seating both indoors and in the plaza. New windows are in and the garage doors seen below will be removed.
Surrounding the Larkin Filling Station is Larkin Square, a public gathering space. A covered walkway connects to the adjacent Larkin U Building, newly renovated and fully leased by First Niagara. The project also includes a picnic shelter, elevated platform, landscaping, dyed concrete, retail stalls, and tables and seating. Planned events including movies, concerts, markets and festivals promise to draw nearby workers, residents and visitors.
At the northeast corner of Seneca and Emslie, the former Swan Lounge is being transformed into a mix of retail and residential space. The formerly painted brick has been cleaned and new windows are going in.
Across the street, two, two-bedroom loft apartments have been finished in the third floor of the circa-1900 Schaeffer Building. Office space on the building's first two levels was completed in 2010 and is occupied by Young + Wright Architectural.
Exterior work is nearly complete at the Larkin Center of Commerce, the mammoth former warehouse at 701 Seneca Street. Owners Jim Cornell, Peter Krog, and Gordon Reger and adding office tenants to the roster of light industrial and warehousing firms. The 1.3 million sq.ft. building's exterior has been painted white and hundreds of windows have been replaced.
All of the investment is changing the look of the neighborhood. It builds upon a $1.5 million streetscape improvement project completed in 2010 that included new streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, curbs, landscaping, lighting, benches, bus shelters and crosswalks over a half-mile stretch of Seneca Street between Fillmore Avenue and Larkin Street.
Larkin Development Group and others have plans for additional rehab and new building projects that will fill in and expand the Larkin District's boundaries.
Interior loft photos by Larkin Development Group