A local developer Tuesday evening outlined his company's plans to redevelop the former F.N. Burt Co. headquarters in Buffalo's historic Larkin District.
Samuel J. Savarino of Savarino Cos., who spoke at a forum in the Old First Ward Community Center on Republic Street, said the planned renovation of the six-story, 330,000-square-foot facility at 500 Seneca St. will be financed, in part, through federal and state historic tax credits.
Once the renovation is completed, the majority of the building will consist of high-end space, Savarino said.
"We're going to take ... an abandoned factory building and turn it into Class A office space on the level of what we've done in the Cobblestone District," he said.
The project also will include rental space for cultural groups and community organizations, as well as an interior courtyard, a three-story atrium and areas for a cafe and cafeteria. Savarino said construction is targeted to begin in the spring, with the possibility of the first building tenant moving in soon after. Plans for the project also include 150 indoor parking spaces and other amenities aimed at luring businesses to Buffalo's downtown core.
"We're hoping that when we get new tenants in there, it translates into new jobs," Savarino said.
Meanwhile, he said, stabilization work already has begun on the most physically compromised parts of the 111-year-old building.
"At first it was assumed that we would have to tear down the old wood-frame part of the building, which was going to have to come down. It would not have lasted through the winter," Savarino said.
The building, which is located on the border of downtown Buffalo and the Larkin Historic District, formerly housed the New Era Cap Co. manufacturing facility. Savarino said the building is owned by Five Hundred Seneca Street, a development partnership between Savarino Cos. and FFZ Holdings.
The building was purchased with an obligation on the part of the new owner to clean up the property. Asbestos and lead will have to be removed.
Savarino and Kevin Hayes, director of development for Five Hundred Seneca, scheduled Tuesday's presentation in advance of their appearance before the city Planning Board, which has not yet been scheduled. Savarino said that when they receive a date for the Planning Board hearing, it will be posted on the companies' website at www.500seneca.com. The website already features project renderings, including a proposed streetscape and landscape improvements.