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Construction Watch: 716 Swan Street

716 Swan Street’s transformation is nearly complete with stunning storefront windows now in place.  Larkin Development Group is renovating the former Swan Lounge at Swan and Seneca streets into restaurant and residential space.  The two-story building was originally constructed as the Hydraulic Hotel but in recent years was a restaurant and bar.


swan 2

Larkin Development Group purchased the 7,900 sq.ft. building in September 2011 for $245,000.  Plans call for a gastropub on the first floor along with two upper floor apartments, and a beer garden next on the adjacent landscaped lot.

A 1,730 sq.ft. addition with a new elevator and garage has been built at the rear of the building. Young + Wright Architectural is project architect.


Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

View All Articles by WCPerspective
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  • jstraubinger

    Very nice

  • jvgriffis

    The transformation of the facade should make us all take a second look at other similar ‘ugly’ brick-fronted buildings around town. That’s a very sharp look.

  • NOW….   Imagine 30 buildings just like this on main st.
    The buildings are there!

  • Michael DiPasquale

    I haven’t seen it in person….but why does the first floor glass look so dark?

  • RaChaCha

    Michael DiPasqualeSnell’s Law:

  • RaChaCha

    Can’t overlook the heroic battle that Larkin Development Group fought for months to keep the building vertical, when the back wall started to collapse.  This building has a lot of preservation lessons, especially regarding what is “too far gone to save.”  Also, you can’t reach snap-judgements about a building’s quality based on its appearance after decades of neglect or unsympathetic alterations.  And how much nicer and welcoming that entire corner is by just one change: putting the utilities underground.

  • BfloForTheWin

    awesome job with this one

  • brownteeth

    Michael DiPasquale It’s actually pretty clear in person, especially with lights on inside.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    Just wait until vehicle traffic returns and we build a bridge connecting Main St. to the outer harbor. We already see people snatching up buildings on the 500 and 600 block like gangbusters. Bring the cars back and you’ll get the traffic you need to spur development.

  • Northbuff

    Amazing transformation and the new street windows are phenomenal.

  • MartinKemp

    Beautiful transformation. Windows play off the iron work so well.

  • Michael DiPasquale

    RaChaCha Michael DiPasquale 
    Wow. Thanks.

  • vhrix

    Heh, no fair posting a picture of the Swan Lounge with dirty snow and large garbage pails out front.  it was never taken care of very well.   (Don’t get me wrong.)  But that’s about the least flattering photo of it I’ve seen.

  • darrencp22

    Does anyone know if the supporting steel beam outside is a permanant fixture of this building? Perhaps this is to reenforce the structure as stated by RhaChaCha. What the plan? It looks very awkward.

  • BenjaminJohn

    darrencp22 It is a permanent structure for stabilization of the West wall but will most likely be incorporated into the entrance for the open beer garden that is proposed.

  • OldFirstWard

    I don’t know, I hate to be picky because I really want to love this, but something does not look right with these windows and doors.  Maybe it is the arches or the mismatched doors that look out of place in the opening. 
    I like the cast iron trim but the window frames seem too thin and front is flat.  There is no alcove for the doors and they look flimsy.  This front looks awkward. I need to drive by a take a closer look.

  • brownteeth

    OldFirstWard The glass/frame does look like it sticks out in front of the brick arches above which looks awkward to me too, however I think the overall project is excellent!

  • OldFirstWard

    It is a fantastic transformation.  They also built an addition in back of aged recycled bricks.  
    Early brick buildings look beautiful with cast iron elements, recessed entryway doors and awnings.  
    This building really needs to have a recessed entryway with heavy doors and large glass panels.  This will give the facade some depth and character. The base panels need to be detailed even with coffered trim.  Even simple things like painted letters in the upper windows of a business located inside are nice touches.  Additional color added to the trim will enhance the focal point of the facade.

  • OldFirstWard

    I was there today looking at the building and saw a telephone pole and wires on the Emslie St. side up to Swan.

  • OldFirstWard

    Michael DiPasquale 
    I stopped by to take a closer look today.  The glass is somewhat frosty.  I couldn’t see inside until I put my face up to the glass.  The glare of the sun darkens it.

  • RaChaCha

    darrencp22I’ve been fascinated by that, as well.  The 2 very shallow arches of the cast iron façade have nothing to brace the lateral load, so are tied at the bottom by a threaded tension rod that runs the entire length of the building.  You can see it in 2 of the pictures.  On the west side of the building, it appears the rod is now anchored by the steel beams, rather than the cast iron façade.
    I don’t know for sure, but I think the steel beams may be for the anchoring of that tension rod, rather than for actually bracing the wall.   I’d love to know more.
    This also has me curious whether there are other examples in the city of façades built with shallow arches where the lateral lode is borne not by masonry on either side, but rather tied at the bottom with tension rods.