Ten decaying buildings Reborn

May 3, 2012 Updated May 3, 2012 at 7:39 AM EDT

By WKBW News

May 3, 2012 Updated May 3, 2012 at 7:39 AM EDT

Ten decaying buildings in Downtown Buffalo have been transformed into one thriving business center, after a $12 million investment.

Two financial firms celebrated grand openings this week at the Genesee Gateway building. Winthrop Financial and Pratt Collard Advisory partners were formed when the firm Harold C. Brown closed last year. Company executives say it was an easy decision to choose Genesee Gateway for their new offices..

"It's probably one of the most visible pieces of property because it has been abandoned for 20-plus years," said Matthew Collard. "So when we communicated to our partners, our clients and constituents that this is where we wanted to go and where we were going, they were excited for us and excited for Buffalo."

Doug Swift, a partner with Genesee Gateway, says the project began back in 2007 and that the Wendt Foundation was instrumental in making it a reality. "The condition was very rough. Some areas were without roofs or floors and windows for decades so there was a lot of deterioration," Swift said. "There were some good bones to work with. We were able to attach the weak spots back together and knit the ten different building that were here into one functional space."

New tenants like Deborah Stauring, of Winthrop Financial, call the space is unique and historic. Stauring says it feels like home and she's hoping more businesses consider taking space there. "I would like to think that because we moved in here, two financial firms, that we have attracted attention to the building," she said. "It would be really nice to have it fully occupied."

Right now, the site is 80 percent occupied, according to Swift. There are plans for possible restaurant space and some apartments as well.

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