The Planing Mill, TM Montante Development’s adaptive reuse project at 141 Elm Street, has reached full occupancy less than six months after being completed.
Employii, a Buffalo tech company that offers affordable, intuitive software solutions in human resources and payroll services, recently became the building’s newest commercial tenant. The growing company has leased the Planing Mill’s only remaining space, 4,100 sq.ft. of Class A office space on the ground floor. The final residential units on the building’s upper floors have also been leased and are now fully occupied.
TM Montante acquired the former E.M. Hager & Sons Planing Mill in 2012, with a vision for a unique, mixed-use facility in a historic Buffalo building. At the time ground was broken on the project, it was viewed as one of the more speculative developments in the city. TM Montante predicted correctly that the time was right for new development that would bridge the gap between the central business district and the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor.
“Despite all the new projects that are in various stages of development downtown, when we purchased the building, there was not much happening along Elm St.,” said Christian Campos, president, TM Montante Development. “But, we knew that if we were creative and did it right, the Planing Mill would be successfully redeveloped and serve as a cornerstone for the neighborhood.”
Over the next year and a half, TM Montante completed a comprehensive exterior restoration and complete interior reconstruction. The company worked to restore the building to optimal condition, while preserving its historic qualities and integrating modern energy technologies to reduce energy costs and the building’s carbon footprint. Tenants soon began committing to space and now include Employii, C&S Engineering, and a diverse group of residents living in the building’s 22 loft-style apartments.
“The Planing Mill was in a state of disrepair, but we had a vision for how it could have new life in a rejuvenated downtown,” said Campos. “It took some serious work, but we’ve seen that vision fulfilled. The Planing Mill embodies the distinctive, historic character that is so prevalent in Buffalo, and we have filled it with quality tenants exceeding all of our expectations. To say we’re pleased would be an understatement.”
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