Tishman Building remake would include hotel

March 20, 2012 Updated Mar 20, 2012 at 7:07 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

...
March 20, 2012 Updated Mar 20, 2012 at 7:07 AM EDT

Planners are offering the first official glimpse in what the future holds for the Tishman Building in downtown Buffalo.

That glimpse will be provided during the March 27 Buffalo Planning Board meeting with architects and developers representing the Hamister Group will provide an overview of the proposed $40 million makeover of the central business district landmark.

The Amherst-based Hamister Group has the 20-story, 180,000-square-foot building, located at 447 Main St., under contract, with the deal expected to close in the next few weeks. The building is owned by the Lillian Goldman Family Trust, a New York-based investment group who has controlled the 54-year-old building since its earliest days.

The Tishman Building, once the corporate headquarters for National Fuel Gas, has been largely vacant for the past decade.

"We are moving right along with our plans," said Dan Hamister, the Hamister Group executive vice president.

According to documents filed with the Buffalo Planning Board, the building's first 14 floors will be occupied by a 123-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel that will include such amenities as private meeting rooms, a health club and lap pool.

As many as 18 high-end, upscale apartments are planned for floors 15 to 17 and the Hamister Group will occupy the top three floors, roughly 30,000-square-feet.

City hall documents peg the construction costs at $28 million.

The Buffalo firm of Carmina Wood & Morris has been retained to serve as the project's architect.

Carmina Wood & Morris is also working on securing national historic landmark status for the Tishman Building and federal historic tax credits to help underwrite the project's costs.

"The building will be just as stylish today as it was when it opened in 1958," said Jon Morris, project architect.

Designed by the famed New York City firm of Emery Roth & Associates, the Tishman Building is regarded for "international style", Morris said. It is one of the few that Roth designed outside of Manhattan.

Plans call for the building's main entrance to be at the corner of Lafayette Square and Main Street. The entrance will be covered and weather-protected.

Both Hamister and Morris said they expect work to start this fall, once the various Buffalo agencies sign off on the project, and the construction should take about 24 months to complete.

The Hamister Group, which began on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo and later moved to Amherst, is returning to its city roots, Dan Hamister said.

The project coincides with developer's Rocco Termini's $42 million makeover of the Hotel Lafayette, which is due to open in May. Combined the two projects will make a significant impact on downtown Buffalo and, specifically, the Lafayette Square area around the Brisbane Building and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

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