Benderson, city planners to discuss Donovan site

March 2, 2012 Updated Mar 2, 2012 at 8:19 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

...
March 2, 2012 Updated Mar 2, 2012 at 8:19 AM EDT

Representatives from Benderson Development Co. are expected to meet with the Buffalo Planning Board to give them an overview of proposed $30 million redevelopment of the Gen. Donovan State Office Building.

Benderson will present its overview during the March 13 planning board meeting.

The eight-story Donovan Building, vacant for more than five years, is being redeveloped as a mixed-use, multi-tenant facility anchored by the Phillips Lytle LLP law firm and a 96-room Courtyards by Marriott hotel. Phillips is leasing the building's top four floors, roughly 85,000-square-feet, and bringing more than 300 workers to the structure.

Both the Phillips Lytle law offices and Marriott are expected to be in the building by late 2013.

The Donovan site is considered one of the key anchors in the 20-acre Canalside development along the lower Main Street portion of downtown Buffalo.

"This is further evidence we are seeing that the momentum, which has been building up in the past few years, is coming together in a positive way," said Sam Hoyt, Empire State Development Corp. regional president.

Hoyt, when he was a state Assemblyman, had offices in the Donovan Building until it was closed.

"I'm hoping that, if, the planning board has any issues with the project, they will be resolved quickly," Hoyt said.

Benderson has already started some preliminary work on the interior portion of the building. The Donovan site is expected to be stripped down to its steel structural frame and then re-skinned, much like what Uniland Development Co. did with the former Dulski federal office building on Delaware Avenue which has been reborn as the Avant.

"The meeting with the planning board is an important step forward," said David McNamara, Phillips Lytle managing partner. "It is a valuable part of the process."

Phillips Lytle will be moving its offices from the One HSBC Center tower to the Donovan building. As a prelude to the move, the firm has retained the Atlanta-based Jova Daniels Busby Inc., an interior design firm that specializes in law firm projects, to work on its office layout and space planning.

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