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Construction Watch: 716 Swan Street

With Larkin Square and the Filling Station open, Larkin Development Group is finishing up another project at the Swan/Seneca/Emslie intersection.  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 repaired.  All of the new windows have been installed except for the storefront space that has shed its masonry, then plastic, cocoon.


Larkin Development Group purchased the 7,900 sq.ft. building last September 2011 for $245,000.  The developer also owns the vacant parcels surrounding the building.  A master plan for the district shows a mix of retail and residential space for the land.  The timing for the new construction isn’t known, but if the developer’s track record is any indication, it promises to be worth the wait.
Get Connected: Larkin Development Group, 716.362.2677

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  • LouisTully

    Has anyone heard anything about the going-ons of Illinois St? Haven’t heard anything about the blacksmith shop (proactive preservation, right) or that proposed residential midway down the block. Also there’s a mural of the old Michigan lift bridge, not sure how long it’s been there but it’s pretty neat. Though it’s tearing.


    Will this building end up looking as attractive as its neighbor across the street, the Schaefer Building?

  • lenlam

    Many a Genny was consumed in this place during the early seventies.
    What a great transformation this will be!

  • BFLOwatch

    Clean up Smith St. and the rest of The Valley while theyre at it.

  • buffjeff
    Here is the article Buffalo Rising had on the mural.

  • Up and coming

    This project goes to show how big business can transform an entire section of the city.

  • JSmith

    It’s just amazing to me that someone would cover up those beautiful columns with gray-painted cinderblock (or whatever that material is) and think it was an aesthetic improvement.

  • longgone

    Have any plans to move all of the people?
    I understand the idea of fixing the buildings but it’s the people that make a mess. How hard is it to cut the grass? Keep your indoor couch off the front porch? etc.

  • davvid

    ^ and these are the kinds of statements that pit people against developers. If your wish is for working class people to be pushed from their neighborhoods don’t be surprised when new projects are met with lawsuits and obstruction. This development is a very positive thing – don’t turn it into something more sinister with such intolerant comments.

  • BuffaloInk

    Looks fantastic!

  • costrander08

    I don’t think anything has come out about the smith shop down on Illinois & South Park. What is the residential midway that you’re referring to? Is that something planned for Larkin or the Cobblestone District?
    I know that one project for Illinois (halfway down the block) seems to have stalled completely.

  • Tim

    I’ve looked into buying property in the area and while there is a lot of crap housing, there’s also a bunch of people taking care of their property and making improvements. I think the bigger problem is the city’s population loss that causes much of the blight in the area. Too many houses and not enough people.

  • costrander08

    I would love to know how much the apartments in this building and the Schafer Building will go for. I just can’t wait for the construction to start on the row houses.
    I will say they would be well served to inject a bit more commercial space (ie restaurants) into the neighborhood.


    Those arched tension rod beams are pretty cool

  • BPS_Rising

    Gorgeous! I love all the redevelopment going on in this neighborhood – makes me want to consider moving to that area.
    I recently came across this property on the market – also gorgeous, wish I had the $ to buy it!
    (688 Clinton)

  • grad94

    i love it when these cast iron storefronts are uncovered and restored.

  • LouisTully

    That’s a pretty awesome property.

  • NBuffguy

    I’m pretty sure there’s a shot of the old Swan Lounge early in the 2010 Film “Henry’s Crime” starring Keanu Reeves. I remember it, because when I saw that building I thought to myself that those types of buildings make Buffalo look really bleak. So it’s nice to see one more of them being transformed.


    How about the scene where Henry (Keanu Reeves) crosses Main St in front of the classic Buffalo Savings Bank and gets hit by a car. The building to the Bank’s immediate left has 5 or 6 “For Sale” signs plastered on it. That’s something we’ve all seen but given how much Brown’s office sucked up to the movie production company, you would think that they would have been conscious of how negative that looks. Scenes like that and most of Vinnie Gallo’s movie, Buffalo66, show a lot of the derelictness left behind by Buffalo’s loss of Heavy Industry.

  • BFLOwatch

    Other than the slumlord owned prperty in The Valley, single homes are not that bad. With a little tlc they could be very nice. There was a story in the Valley News about three young people buying homes there. Peg O is doing a great job encouraging this.

  • Travelrrr

    This is why preservation matters (though Swan Lounge was not at risk)–it allows for a rebirth and contemporary refresher. So, let’s think about that next time one is in support demo of a building–once it’s down, it’s gone forever.

  • paulsobo

    The thing I like the most about the Larkin District is that it doesnt just want to restore buildings but they want to infill new buildings with architectural styles that fit with the period.
    Everywhere else in Buffalo…they take a winning formula and they screw it up with modern, contemporary and/or suburban.

  • jag

    Never heard of the movie and just about no one saw it, so I wouldn’t worry too much.
    I know Keanu Reeves is crap, but I seriously had no idea a full-length movie was capable of only grossing 100K.

  • longgone

    My comment was nothing by honest.
    It does not take much to keep your lawn cut, trash off the front porch or do minimal things to keep a homes appearance up. The odds of a resident doing this goes down when they rent. It goes down even further why they do not pay a lot for rent. That said, this is an area that is full of low rent units. Facts are facts.
    I have also driven through this area multiple times and the conditions I mentioned exist. Sorry if that fact insults you in any way.
    You can spend as much money as you want on cleaning up the streets, sidewalks and community spaces but until people take pride in the space they live…it will not produce any results.
    The best neighborhoods in Buffalo were not created by public investment. They were created by private pride by the people who live there.

  • Up and coming

    Your comments are 100 percent true. People are what make an area livable. If you took 200 young professionals and placed them in this area, over night it would turn into the young hot place to live. Restaurants would move in, business would move in, families would want to relocate here, parks would spring up. People is what moves investment, not the other way around.

  • 16thStreet

    Lol, did 4 people really thumb down that positive post!?
    Looking great Larkin!

  • pampiniform

    What is that big white factory building down there that they seem to be in the middle of demolishing? And that empty lot across the street, are they planning on building anything there?

  • BPS_Rising

    Where is the white factory building you’re referring to?

  • LouisTully

    Yep, the one halfway down the block on Illinois. I haven’t heard anything in quite a while, though they had renderings and all that jazz when the article was on here.

  • pampiniform

    The one on the corner of Lord and Seneca. The whole middle part of it gone, and they seem to be working on it still.

  • Weaves32
  • pampiniform

    Cool thanks

  • costrander08

    Pretty typical of anything within a stone’s throw of Canalside. Pretty pictures and no real action.