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Donovan Building Re-Do Being Explored

Benderson Development and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation are looking into a Dulski-like make-over for the Donovan Office Building at the foot of Main Street. According to a report in today’s Buffalo News, the former State office building at 125 Main Street could see new life as a mixed-use complex combining hotel, residential and retail space. The building had been pegged for demolition as part of the Canal Side project.

Sharon Linstedt has the scoop:

“As we got closer to hiring a demolition firm, we decided to take a look at reuse
potential,” Levy said. “If there’s a way to take advantage of what’s standing there that makes
sense for Canal Side, then we’ll do that.”
The transformed Donovan, which would be completely rebuilt from the steel frame out, could
potentially debut in early 2010, months ahead of the Bass Pro Outdoor World store that will be
built from scratch on the Aud site.
“Because we’d be starting with the foundations and frame in place, the Donovan block could
take shape a couple years earlier than we anticipated, which is really exciting,” Levy said.
Empty since early 2007, the Donovan building is in the final phase of a months-long, top-to-
bottom asbestos abatement effort. When LVI Environmental finishes its $7 million worth of work
this week, the structure will be nearly gutted inside, ready for either hazard-free demolition
or reuse.
Benderson Development Co., which is in charge of creating some 400,000-square-feet of the
commercial space at Canal Side, is working on preliminary engineering and architectural
skematics for recycling the site.
Early versions of the Canal Side masterplan targeted the two-acre Donovan site for a 1,000-
vehicle parking garage, with some first floor retail. Levy said it is early enough in planning
for the massive, 20 acre, multi-site project to accommodate parking needs at other sites.

Benderson and the ECHDC are expected to decide in the next few weeks whether the Donovan building will see new life or meet the wrecking ball.
The 146,000 sq.ft., eight story structure was constructed in 1962 on the site of the Lehigh Valley Terminal. Eighteen State agencies were relocated from the Donovan State Office Building starting in 2005 to prepare the 1.8-acre site for redevelopment.
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. took control of the property from the New York State Office of General Services in November 2007.
Benderson Development’s plans for the Canal Side development are expected to be released shortly.

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