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More Apartments Plus Distillery for 500 Seneca Street

The development team behind the repurposing of 500 Seneca Street have doubled the number of planned apartments and signed a distillery to occupy part of the complex. Savarino Companies and Frontier Group of Companies are redeveloping what was originally the F.N. Burt Company box manufacturing plant and later used by New Era Cap Co. into a mixed use complex.  The property is listed on the National Register of Historic places and the project is utilizing historic preservation tax credits.


‘Hydraulics Lofts,’ the residential component of the complex, has doubled in scope from an original 55 units to now 110 luxury and corporate apartments. Of the wave of conversion and loft projects, only the Lafayette Hotel has a higher number of units at 115.  Sizes and rents range from a 560 sq.ft. second floor studio for $555 to $2,700 for a 3,000 sq.ft., top floor corner apartment.

“We conducted a market study and it made sense to add them,” says Samuel J. Savarino, President and Chief Executive Officer of Savarino Companies. “With the 31 apartments planned across the street [The Square at Larkinville], this neighborhood will soon have 150 new residential units. The area will become more active.”

The residences will occupy the oldest, wood-framed portion of the complex at Seneca and Hamburg Streets and also large portions of the second and third floors.

There will be 20 different unit layouts, all with an open layout, high ceilings, and exterior exposed brick walls. Apartments will have high-end fixtures and finishes with either sealed and polished concrete floors or restored wood floors.

Even the smallest units will feature at least one set of 8’ tall by 19’ wide operable factory windows or 6’ tall by 16’ wide operable ganged sash windows providing abundant natural light. Entrance corridors will have views into an interior atrium. Transoms above entrance doors will take advantage of the natural light from the interior atrium.


Tenants will have 24/7 access to the building’s fitness center, exterior courtyard, and interior atrium. The courtyard will feature trees, gardens, and sitting areas and will have direct access to Myrtle Street. Apartments have either an in-unit washer/dryer hookup or semi-private laundry facilities which will be located in close proximity to each unit. Dedicated elevators will serve the residential component with a visitor entrance on Seneca Street.

Apartment pre-leasing will begin shortly and occupancy is scheduled for next August. Savarino Construction is general contractor for the project that will be managed by Savarino Properties when completed. Chaintreuil Jensen Stark is architect and Preservation Studios is handling the tax credit certification work.


On the commercial side, Savarino says that 44 percent of the planned commercial and retail space in the building has been leased to seven tenants. Adding to the unique mix of the building, a start-up distillery has recently agreed to occupy a portion of the first floor.

The distillery, yet to be named, will manufacture spirits on site and is being run by Canisius grad Bobby Finan. In addition to a manufacturing area, Finan’s space will include a showroom and tasting area which will be located in a windowed mezzanine overlooking the distilling floor. The mezzanine will have an entrance on Seneca Street. Both visitors and passersby will be able to view the distillery operations though large street level windows.

Other commercial tenants include Frontier Industrial Services, Frontier Group of Companies, Savarino Properties, and the BCOME Buffalo job training program. Other tenants have signed leases but have decided not to go public with their moves just yet.


Offices will feature loft-style finishes with large exterior windows. Balconies are planned for the western façade facing downtown and can be added elsewhere if tenants desire them. Many artifacts recovered from 500 Seneca will be restored and displayed in the lobbies and corridors of the building.

There are plans for a European style café/bistro for residential and commercial tenants immediately adjacent to the interior atrium. The café will serve specialty coffee items, wine, beer and spirits, as well as prepared and “grab and go” food. Catering services will be available. A full-service spa and restaurant are also planned for the first floor.

9,000 sq.ft. of space for individual climate-controlled storage units for both commercial and residential tenants will be available. Building tenants will also have secure, free parking.

Commercial tenants are scheduled to being occupying their space in March.

Residential Leasing:
Alex Burgos, Savarino Companies, or 716.332.5959
Project Information:
Kevin Hays, Savarino Companies,
Chris Wietig, Frontier Group of Companies,

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

View All Articles by WCPerspective
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