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Big Step in Larkin District: The Square at Larkinville

A warehouse at the northeast corner of Seneca and Hamburg streets will become the Larkin District’s first significant residential project.  “The Square at Larkinville” will feature 31 market-rate apartments and 18,500 sq.ft. of office space at 550 Seneca Street.  It is being undertaken by Frontier Group of CompaniesCSS Construction will be an investor and serve as the general contractor for the $5.4 million project that has been designed by Carmina Wood Morris.


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“We will be providing a combination of one and two bedroom units with an average size of approximately 950 to 1,100 sq.ft.,” says David Pawlik, president of Creative Structures Services.

“The creation a vibrant business and retail district now allows for a substantial financial market-rate residential investment which will be at the 550 Seneca Street location,” adds Pawlik.


“This is a cool project with unique units and location,” says Steve Carmina, AIA.  “The exterior will have the look and feel of a warehouse.  You won’t even know it is a residential building until you are on the inside.”

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Rents are expected to be approximately $1.10/sq.ft.  Interior parking for 86 cars will be utilized for commercial and residential building tenants and nearby office workers.

The 92,000 sq.ft. building, a former A&P Bakery, is composed of two and four-story sections.  Frontier Group of Companies purchased the property last year for $385,000.  It is adjacent to 500 Seneca Street that Frontier Group of Companies and Savarino Development Corp. are converting into 300,000 square feet of Class A office space and a nonprofit job training center.

The Square at Larkinville will be the largest residential development in the Larkin District.  Larkin Development Group created two residences in the Schaeffer Building at 740 Seneca Street and has two more nearing completion in the former Swan Lounge at 716 Seneca.

Chaintreuil-Jensen-Stark Architects put four apartments into the upper floors of the restored Kamman Building at 755 Seneca Street.

There are plans for other residential projects.  Larkin Development Group in early 2011 purchased the Larkin Men’s Club Building at 696 Seneca Street with plans to eventually convert the building to residential use.  Nearby, Seneca Holdings LLC has plans to convert the former Larkin Boiler House into 54 residences.  Seneca Holdings is currently focused on reuse of the massive Larkin Center of Commerce structure at 701 Seneca Street.

The Buffalo Planning Board gave the project a thumbs-up at its meeting on Tuesday.  Work at 550 Seneca Street is expected to start in July and be finished by March 2015.

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • beyersmarket

    from a preservation perspective, I love reading about these projects….however, what I think is lost sometimes is that (similar to Detroit, Cleveland and other cities that expanded so quickly during the age of the car), will Buffalo’s existing street grids and infill density (where we have so many detached, single or multiple family homes) ever allow these projects to truly make a material impact and turn this city into a dense, walkable destination like Chicago, Boston, San Fran, etc?  My thought is no but my point is that we need some more leadership from a city/county perspective on how we are going to change that.  If this is always going to be a place where you need a car to survive, our success as a city and a destination is only going to go so far.

  • schvanstuchen

    beyersmarket Buffalo will probably never be the walkable urban city like Boston, Chicago etc. simply because we don’t have the population. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have these cool pocket urban neighborhoods that would be dense, urban and walkable in their own right (such as Elmwood and Allentown are now). Maybe someday Larkinville, downtown and the medical campus will grow together but probably not in our lifetimes.

  • that large 1-2 story portion is perfect for people with mobility issues. easy in and out at grade without having to wait for an elevator.  could be a real selling point for some customers.

  • Soccerdude5719

    The best feature of this project is the parking is hidden below the raised roadway. Now that is a some great work.

  • No_Illusions

    Depends on population increase. Buffalo can expect some moderate growth, but there is so much still abandoned in the city that it might be a while for infill to get to the levels of Boston or Chicago.

    However, in the neighborhoods that are in High Demand an already pretty much all the way built out, like Elmwood or Allentown, we are seeing some infill.

    Downtown might get that way eventually.

    Larkin though has a lot of space to fill.

  • EB_Blue

    Great project, stupid name. It’s not a square. And a Larkin Square already exists two blocks away. Don’t create confusion.

    Call it The Bakery. It was an A&P Bakery that opened in 1930.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Great point, I’ve had the same thoughts as well; are we ever going to get to the point where some of the “missing teeth” are going to be filled in? Of course things will never be like they were in the “good ol days” society as a whole has changed too much. Some neighborhoods will continue to die and others like Larkin will be brought back. I’m not necessarily worried about great large buildings being brought back, every year that passes there are fewer and fewer to choose from.
    However, even with population increases and changes in society and attitude. (Which are coming slowly, everything reaches Buffalo a decade after everywhere else) I fear we nor many other cities like Buffalo will never have enough out of the box Urban minded individuals to fill in the gaps and live between these lovely renovated bigger buildings.

  • WIGS

    EB_Blue  agreed, the current name is confusing as there’s already Zemsky’s “Larkin Square”. 
    This project should be called “Bakery Lofts” or something.

  • GotAnyChange

    A bunch of new projects in manhattan are actually being designed with these style windows. They look good. Higher quality than glass curtain.

  • EB_Blue

    I may be accused of nitpicking on this one, but Larkinville should really be employed only to describe Larkin Co. buildings. It is the Hydraulics, and I understand the apparent desire of the owner to connect the facility to Larkinville’s success, but to say “at Larkinville” is specious.

  • greenca

    What’s the building to the rear of the drawing (horizontal brick bands and windows in the photo, the grayed-out box in the drawings)?  Is that on track for redevelopment too?

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Not the greatest pic but I’m pretty sure that was an option for the new city shelter..if and when they move from their medical campus location.

  • laldm109

    greenca Rocco was planning last year to redevelop it as a new home for the homeless shelter at Ellicott & Goodell and also with like 200 low-income apartments. The deal fell apart and I haven’t heard any new plans since. It’s an 8-story cold storage warehouse that’s still in use by a refrigeration company.

  • rockpile38

    I am ecstatic that this complex is being rehabbed! I was almost sure it would be demoed with the other larger buildings having redevelopment and it would be the odd man out sort of speak, being leveled for surface parking!

  • OldFirstWard

    That is the better looking of the buildings.  One of the many daylight factory buildings in Buffalo.  It is old A&P Warehouse that was recently proposed as the new City Mission complex with Rocco Termini as the lead developer.  That project has since died.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    Me likie!

  • jim1234664

    EB_Blue some of these developers really need people who know what they’re doing to name these projects…
    Pierce arrow village is awful as well

  • EB_Blue

    jim1234664 EB_BlueAgreed about Pierce Arrow Village. It’s not a village. It’s a cluster of industrial buildings. The City is apparently calling it simply “Great Arrow,” after the most prominent street which crosses Elmwood Ave.

  • Buffaboy

    With cars everywhere why would anyone want to walk/use public transport? I’m just playing devils advocate.

  • foreverbflo

    Look at that expansive flat roof!! 
    Hmmmm ?

  • rockpile38

    foreverbflo  I was thinking that myself, even though I love the rehab, the roof could be a green roof or a nice patio, but perhaps that will evolve with the plan.

  • foreverbflo

    rockpile – my exact thoughts!! – was waiting for someone to catch on the the subtle comment. 
    However, it needs to be designed in now. I’m sure a structural engineering assessment/report will confirm that the building can withstand the loads. Buffalo spared NO expenses with concrete and re-bar 100 yrs ago. 
    I am very surprised that a green roof is not in this rendering. That would have been the place to include it for sure. 
    Manage the runoff – create valuable programmable space – mitigate heat island affects – restore some lost ecological elements – increase rents!!…. win-win-win. And it would look fantastic seeing this from the Hamburg bridge and Sen St and wherever visible…
    Heading south on the 190 from downtown…. look at all the low roofs on your right that are almost even with the 190. One after the other. How cool would that be if the owners of these buildings and businesses created a corridor of green roofs for all to see? I would build them for them! Design for free – just let me build them! 
    Shot back too much Nyquil I think. Sorry.

  • rockpile38

    foreverbflo  That would be really cool, but do you have any pics or sites that show different examples of green roofs, can they vary in design, size, and plants? The buildings in the Hydraulics would be perfect, but maybe Graphic Controls and the Police Garage could get involved as well! On another note, I would love to see Exchange Street see some new infill and redevelopment, one thing at time though.

  • foreverbflo

    Green roofs are common throughout the US, Canada and certainly Germany. Lots of examples. I gave several presentations on green roofs – from basic simple systems to more intensive systems to facilitate programming and regular use. 
    We are designing and building a smaller – and much more visionary and brave – green roof system on a west side business – soon to be announced. 
    IT is such a no-brainer. If you would like examples and a short ppt to email – let me know. Just emailed one to a current interested party yesterday.

  • JSmith11

    WIGS EB_Blue 
    I think they should just call it “550 Seneca Street”. Not every building needs a cutesy name.

  • JSmith11

    Buffalo once was a dense, walkable city with the exact same street grid and predominance of detached houses. Even the “streetcar suburbs” like North Park or Kensington-Bailey were/are quite walkable.

  • Amy Nagy

    If anyone has a chance to take a look at some of this groups other projects, I think you will find the area can expect a beautiful, smart project that delivers the residential component this area needs.  I’m looking forward to seeing the continued transformation!