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Block Club Moves to 700 Block

Downtown has made good progress reinventing itself in recent years.  The steady demand for upscale loft living has given new life to a number of historic, formerly underutilized properties.  Chris Jacobs’ Avalon Development has joined the renovation wave by redeveloping a half dozen properties in the Theater District.  But instead of housing residents, his buildings cater to businesses, and many of his tenants are in the ‘creative’ or tech sectors.

Jacobs’ properties in the 600 and 700 blocks of Main feature loft-like office environs that are a natural fit for entrepreneurial firms, something downtown needs more of.  One of his newest tenants is Block Club.  The design and marketing studio recently moved into 2,700 sq.ft. of space at 731 Main Street

IMG_8130.jpgFounder Patrick Finan, Brandon Davis and Ben Siegel started Block Club Magazine in early 2007.  The trio worked out of their homes and coffee shops to produce the publication.  20,000 copies of the first, well-designed magazine were distributed throughout the region and a short time later, Block Club moved into its first office, a 200 sq.ft. space in The Neighborhood Collective located at 810 Elmwood Avenue.

Magazine advertisers started requesting design work and Block Club expanded its focus and team.  Block Club Creative was formed to offer design and marketing services. 

In 2010, Block Club created Buffalo Dining Cards that provided $10 discounts to 50 locally-owned restaurants and raised money for Women and Children’s Hospital.  The City Dining Card program is now in eight cities including Boston, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Philadelphia and Albany. 

IMG_8148.jpgToday, Block Club employs eleven people, the magazine is now published quarterly, and the firm was recently named one of Western New York’s top 15 advertising agencies and the No. 3 fastest-growing company in WNY by Business First.

“Despite our growth over the past few years, we are still perceived as a small magazine; people don’t know that the magazine has become the smallest part of our business,” says Brandon Davis, Block Club’s creative director.  “We continue to publish it because it’s a passion project of ours. We’re deliberate in how we describe the company: we’re a design and marketing studio that publishes a quarterly magazine.”

IMG_8162.jpgIMG_8172.jpgAs Block Club expanded, partners wanted a new space that reflected who they were as a company, near the action of downtown, had room for growth, and allowed an easy commute for employees, many of which bike to work.

“When looking at office space, we were in search of spot that we could grow with,” says Davis.  “We looked at spaces at Genesee Gateway and in the building owned and occupied by Carmina Wood Morris.  We ultimately settled on 731 Main Street for numerous reasons.  Chris Jacobs, our landlord, offered the best price for amenities, offered a build-out that we couldn’t refuse, and we love this neighborhood.”

Kathy Lewandowski of Inside Designs worked with the company to lay out a space that accommodates Block Club’s current needs and future growth.

IMG_8154.jpgBlock Club’s office was designed to embrace Main Street.  The space is long and narrow, with hardwood floors, a brick wall extending the length of the interior and huge windows at either end.  Walls were installed to give privacy in the conference area and a few small offices, but windows were installed in most walls to allow natural light to travel throughout the space.  Walls, doors and baseboards are light gray or white in order to accent the hardwood floors and the wood desks, shelves and work spaces.

“In terms of having first-floor windows on Main Street, we were sure not to cover them with blinds or cubicles,” says Davis.  “I was inspired by all of the first-floor architectural and design studios I’ve seen intermingled with restaurants, cafes and shops in Copenhagen, Helsinki, Toronto, and even on my recent trip to Venice, California, where you can look in and feel and be inspired by the physical design of the space, as well as the creative energy of the people working there.”

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“When people look through our windows, they’ll usually see life and movement.  We might be having a quick meeting on the lounge and chairs up front or meeting in our conference room.  If nothing else, Miles, our big 90lb labadoodle is usually manning the front window.  You can stand at the front of our space and look directly through to the back.”

“The space we’ve created definitely says something about our company,” says Davis.  “It’s collaborative, comfortable, minimalist.  It’s a combination of old and new.”

Just like downtown.

Get Connected: Block Club, 716.507.4474

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  • RaChaCha

    Block Club has a great design. I loved their recent profile of Stacey Watson of Drop-In Nation.
    This interior makes great use of space and light — but are the sawhorses perhaps a bit too precious–?

  • townline

    Crazy how much they’ve grown since that teeny office in the back of the collective.

  • grad94

    looks like a great place to work. congrats, block club!

  • Travelrrr

    Nice build-out and design sensibilities. Way to go BC.

  • burbsarenotbuffalo

    i’ve never been able to understand why block club magazine seems to be 85% advertisements and about 15% content. its always seemed so lopsided.

  • ByronBrownsTie

    Well done. Block Club is a really cool magazine. Ben Siegel and Brandon Davis are two really awesome Buffalonians and I are doing great work. My only wish is that this magazine was more frequent. Bi-monthly isnt enough.

  • blockclub

    burbs, pick up our most recent issue. We recently repositioned and revamped the magazine. We’ve limited the number of advertisements available in each issue so that we’ve got more room to go deeper in telling stories. It’s now 65% content, 35% full-page ads only.

  • hamp

    Love the space. And really like those orange chairs.

  • whitney arlene

    gorgeous!

  • brownteeth

    I used the same concept in my home except I used antique oversized pocket doors in lieu of the modern doors. You can buy the track and hardware at Tractor Supply and use virtually any door slab. The track and hardware run under $100 if I recall correctly.
    There’s plenty of local door suppliers that you can purchase a modern architectural door from or you can re-purpose an old door slab like I did. I was lucky to find two identical doors for free stored in the basement of a building that I rent from but Buffalo Reuse has an infinite amount of many styles on hand at reasonable prices.

  • SadLlama

    Thanks!

  • BillyBobN

    Love, love, LOVE what Block Club has created at their new space. Brandon and Patrick have obviously absorbed some great design decisions during their Scandinavian travels, because this space is definitely bringing a new feel to Main Street. Congrats guys, and keep it up! Can’t wait to stop by next time I’m in town.

  • snax

    Dave Horesh is hawt!

  • MikeN

    I’d like to see the cards support the Preservation Board perhaps for grants or endowments that can be used to sponsor volunteer rehab projects i.e. Central Terminal restoration, or document and promote sites and rehab reuses, or expand the tours. Support Buffalo businesses and Buffalo preservation. (Maybe they exist but I didn’t see them on the website so I apologize if I’m talking out of my a$$).

  • BuffaloQPublic

    Re: “The space we’ve created definitely says something about our company. It’s collaborative, comfortable, minimalist. It’s a combination of old and new.”
    “Just like downtown.”
    That’s nothing but the whole truth. Lovely!