By this time next year One Seneca Tower is expected to have a lot more activity. "There will be bodies in there in 12 months." developer Douglas Jemal told 7 Eyewitness News, Wednesday night.
The founder and CEO of Douglas Development, which purchased One Seneca Tower for $12 million in August , is in town this week working with architects and engineers on the new design for Buffalo's tallest building. "We are at the halfway point of what we are going to do."
New details of that updated design plan will be revealed on Thursday. "It brings the building to the street. It makes it pedestrian friendly. Right now it's a cold tower with a large courtyard and a lot of wind. It's not a friendly place. I think they will love it", said Jemal.
In full, the company plans to transform the 38-story building into a mixed use facility with office space, a hotel and a large retail component. "Everyone is gravitating to urban environments. To cool places. So really what you want to do is take this building and make it a cool place and young millenials will want to go there." "Make it a 24 hour environment rather than just a 9-to-5 type of office building."
Jemal says he expects work to begin on removing asbestos in the building within the next four months. Once construction begins he says the focus will be on making the the lower floors more pedestrian friendly and turning the west wing of the building into a residential area.
The developer believes parts of the building will be ready to go within the next year but that the full project will take much longer. "It's a five year project before full stabilization of that building.'