December saw the first residential tenants of 500 Seneca Street plant their feet, unpack their bags and settle in to make the Hydraulic Lofts their home. Luke Cusack, Property Manager for Savarino Companies, says that although no formal marketing has been done at this point, news is spreading and tenants are reserving their spots. The complex will include approximately 100 residential units, half of which are already spoken for.
Not surprisingly, Cusack says the building is attracting empty nesters looking to downsize, as well as young urban professionals. Althea Luehrsen is the CEO of Leadership Buffalo whose office occupies one of the commercial spaces at 500 Seneca. Luehrsen was born and raised in Buffalo and had lived in Amherst her entire life. Until December 18th of this year that is, when she moved into the largest unit in the building. Nicknamed “Camp Althea,” her unit includes three bedrooms, three full baths, laundry facilities and a peninsula styled kitchen, which she says is perfect for cooking and entertaining, and has three dinner parties already under her belt.
Luehrsen’s motivation for the move was much more than a convenient elevator ride to work in the morning. She states, “You don’t feel like you’re in an apartment building here. It’s much more than a building, there is so much life going on inside.”
The building’s atrium, fitness center, rooftop deck, café and courtyard all add to the vibrancy of her new home, and Luehrsen is looking forward to other additions to the building which are on the horizon including a spa, much to her liking. Luehrsen adds, “Sam Savarino is a wonderful landlord, both residentially and commercially speaking.” The importance of this statement lies in its potential power to maintain tenants, thereby establishing continuity and continued investment in the building, and consequently the neighborhood.
Located a short walk away from Larkinville, 500 Seneca is looking forward to improvements throughout the neighborhood and beyond. This past November the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) approved a PIF, or PILOT Increment Financing request, which will fund infrastructure improvements at the property by using its tax monies to provide funding for streetscape improvements, period lighting, tree plantings and pedestrian and bicycle pathways. These improvements will contribute to the neighborhood as well as provide connectivity between Larkinville and downtown Buffalo, an important attribute for residents and visitors alike.
Sara Heidinger and Bill Metzger have decided to invest in the area with their new business, Undergrounds Coffee House and Roastery (just across the 190) slated for completion mid-late Spring of 2016. Heidinger grew up in the First Ward and is excited to add to and build a business in the existing neighborhood. Heidinger says, “Development (in the area) seems to be popping up daily, which is exciting.” Situated on the high-volume corner of South Park Avenue and Hamburg Street, they hope their Roastery will service Larkinville, 500 Seneca Street, the Old First Ward and daily commuters traveling to and from downtown. According to Heidinger, “It’s about being part of the neighborhood and giving people a place to come and stay for a while or just grab a cup of coffee on their way to work. We hope it is a small step to continued growth in a small business district.”
The Spring and Summer of 2016 look to be a busy, exciting and fun time to be in Buffalo. New businesses are creating a vibrancy to downtown and the surrounding areas like never before and 500 Seneca Street is adding to the rich fabric of a new Buffalo for sure.
For more information on 500 Seneca Street contact Luke Cusack, Property Manager at Lukec@savarinocompanies.com.