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Construction Watch: Birzon Building at 686 Main Street

A building in the Theater District is far on its way to getting new life. Chris Jacobs, John Barry Jr., and Paul Kolkmeyer are converting the Birzon Building at 686 Main Street into a mix of retail, office space, and apartments. The project will provide expansion space for PLS 3rd Learning, one of the anchor tenants in Jacobs’ 678 Main Street that he redeveloped next door. The buildings will be connected when work is complete with PLS 3rd Learning taking space on the second floor.


The building faces the light rail tunnel entrance ramp and features highly-detailed, white glazed terra cotta. There will be retail and restaurant space on the ground floor, indoor parking, office space on the second floor, and twelve one and two-bedroom apartments on the third level.


686 Main Street was constructed in 1901 by George N. Pierce Company, a bicycle manufacturer that later sold automobiles. Mendleson Furniture occupied the building for forty years starting in 1930. Jeweler Sid Birzon, the building’s last occupant, moved to Niagara Falls Boulevard in 2004. Barry purchased the three-story Beaux Arts style building in September 2005.

Construction crews have taken over the adjacent parking lot to install new windows on the north side of the building and to perform roof work.  The Department of State, Office of Planning and Development granted a ‘temporary approval’ to the zero lot line windows- windows that could disappear should the parking lot be developed in the future.


The $5 million project is expected to be ready for tenants in late fall. The Birzon sign along Main Street will be removed according to Jacobs.

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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