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First Niagara Invests in Larkin’s Future

Following last week’s announcement that First Niagara Financial Group is moving its corporate headquarters from Lockport to the LCo Building, Larkin Development is showing off its preliminary plans for adaptive reuse of two additional structures. 

Initial work is underway on conversion of the Larkin Station #3 at Seneca and Van Rensselaer Street into commercial or retail space.  Definitive plans for its masonry neighbor, the Larkin U building at 237 Van Rensselaer, have not been announced.  Both properties were purchased in late-May.

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First Niagara will relocate its headquarters from its Lockport Administrative Center to the LCo Building, where the company already employs nearly 250 employees and houses its Western New York Regional Market Center.  The company first leased 64,000 square feet in the 726 Exchange Street building in 2006, and it recently began expanding to 89,000 square feet on two additional floors of the 10-story office building.  The bank also opened a full-service branch in the building’s lobby in 2007 to serve the Larkin District and surrounding neighborhoods.

The financial company’s move is spurring additional investment in the neighborhood.  Seneca Street will undergo a significant streetscape upgrade during the next two years to enhance the entrance–and key corridor–to the district.  In addition, Larkin Development is working collaboratively with First Niagara to develop financing programs to eventually bring residential development to the district.

Larkin Development Group Principal Howard Zemsky said: “We simply couldn’t be more excited for the Larkin building and the Larkin District to become the headquarters of First Niagara, one of Western New York’s fastest growing and most outstanding companies. This will fast forward our ambitions to create a vibrant mixed use neighborhood in this historic district. We are extremely grateful for the support of Governor Paterson, Empire State Development, Mayor Brown, and the City of Buffalo which will enable us, along with First Niagara, to dramatically upgrade the public infrastructure in this district.”

First Niagara President and CEO John R. Koelmel sees a budding partnership and sees the move as “the first of many investments we will make in collaboration with Larkin Development to revitalize and promote the rebirth of the area.”

“First Niagara’s move will greatly enhance the re-emerging, historic Larkin District as a central business neighborhood in downtown Buffalo by bringing in a significant number of jobs that will provide additional economic resources to support retail, housing and other commercial developments in the area.  This is huge in terms of job creation, business investment and downtown redevelopment–you can’t ask for more positive outcomes from a project than that,” said Empire State Development Chairman & CEO designate Dennis M. Mullen.

Get Connected: Larkin Development Group, 716.362.2677


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