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Hydraulic Lofts at 500 Seneca Gets Windowed, Stabilized

Windows have recently been installed in the Hydraulic Lofts portion of Savarino Companies and Frontier Group of Companies’ mixed-use redevelopment of 500 Seneca Street. The lofts will occupy the oldest part of the complex and also much of the second floor in the remainder of the building, which was built in a series of seven additions between 1901 and 1907. Steps from Larkin Square, it was originally the F.N. Burt Company box manufacturing plant and later used by New Era Cap Co.

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According to partner Sam Savarino, whose firm Savarino Companies also serves as the developer and contractor for the project, they had originally planned to demolish the wood-framed section of the 300,000 sq. ft. complex. However some gentle persuasion from the preservation community and a successful petition for Federal and NYS Landmark designation made saving this part of the structure possible. A favorable shift in the market for luxury loft apartments has allowed for its renovation and reuse.

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Inside the building, painstaking and steady stabilization work (pictured above) continues on what will become 106 modern loft apartments wrapping around a central courtyard. The units will range in size from a 600 sq. ft. studio to a 3,000 sq. ft. corner apartment on the top floor, with 20 different layouts available.

Units will be open concept with high ceilings, high-end fixtures and finishes and will feature either sealed and polished concrete floors or restored wood floors. Residential tenants will have 24/7 access to the building’s two-story fully equipped fitness center, exterior courtyard, and interior atrium. Unique features include an indoor bike storage and repair area, full-service bar/restaurant, a café, animal day care, full service spa and secure private on-site storage.




The intimate, interest laden residential courtyard space promises to be like no other in the city once transformed. It will feature trees, gardens, and seating areas and will have direct access to Myrtle Street. Adding interest to the courtyard will be a deck to be used by a restaurant tenant and a spacious sun terrace off of an activity center for use by all tenants.

Adjacent to the residences lies a separate street level entrance off of Seneca Street for the restaurant and Tommyrotters Distillery, which will make gin and vodka on-site. Tommyrotters will feature a mezzanine overlooking the production floor which will contain a tasting area.

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Tommyrotters Distillery

A unique work-out environment is in store for tenants. The fitness center will feature exposed stone walls and double-height ceilings. Crews spent a lot of time cutting out most of the heavy machinery originally in the space, but a large turbine was left in place and is rendered in the official Hydraulic Lofts logo.


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October 1st is the expected move in date for residential tenants with pre-leasing starting in the coming weeks. Rents will range from $740 to $2,355, averaging around $1,200.

Work is also continuing on the western office portion of the complex with crews busy constructing office space, corporate suites, and a large common atrium with café in anticipation of the first office tenants scheduled to move in on June 1st.

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“The lobby area will contain a small museum highlighting the history of Buffalo’s Hydraulic district,” says Kevin Hays, Savarino Companies’ Director of Development.


Most of the office space is spoken for. Tenants include a brand new legal department for Liberty Mutual, collections agency ABC-Amega Inc., Savarino Companies, Frontier Group, NerVve Technologies, Bradford Energy Capital, Thinkform Design, Leadership Buffalo, and Bene-Care Agency, among others.

Talks with potential tenents over the remaining 17000 sq. ft. space and 22,000 sq. ft. space are in the works, including a 6th floor penthouse office. The penthouse suite pops up above the top grade of the building, allowing the suite to overlook the glass ceiling of the three story atrium and provides an opportunity for a large terrace to be built out for exclusive penthouse use.

Chaintreuil Jensen Stark is the architect. Interior design on both the residential and office portions is being undertaken by ThinkForm of Kitchener, ON which has recently opened up an office in Buffalo.


Get Connected: Savarino Companies, 716.332.5959

Written by Tim Scanlon

Tim Scanlon

Real estate and design nerd. Owner at LandLines. Has a sweet tooth. Fan of succinct bios.

View All Articles by Tim Scanlon
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