The historic Shea's Seneca building in South Buffalo is being given a breath of new life and being transformed into a multi-use building with 23 apartments and several retail options.
Construction crews are working to restore parts of the historic structure and remodel and upgrade certain areas. Schneider Family of Services, the developer for the project, expects work to finish up in the fall.
"We're really excited," Jake Schneider said. "I'll be so happy when we can turn the lights on and make this a contributing member of the neighborhood. But we have a lot of work to do."
One of the concerns Schneider had when taking on this massive project was finding businesses to fill up the commercial space. He recently locked in tenants for all the retail space.
"To know that there's interest in opening up businesses along this stretch is fundamental to what we're trying to accomplish," he said.
Cantina 62, a Mexican restaurant, new craft beer store Bottle Rocket, April Spencer Floral Design and Public Espresso will fill in the store fronts when the project is completed. A large banquet facility will operate in the building. It's going to be called Shea's Seneca Banquets and Catering.
"It's remarkable to see something like this transforming in front of us," South District Council Member Chris Scanlon said during a tour of the space Wednesday. "What I think is going to happen ultimately is they're going to return Seneca Street to its rightful place as one of the premier commercial destinations throughout Western New York."
Scanlon was quick to point out a lot of other development along Seneca Street. One of the key players in many other projects, Hook and Ladder Development, also joined the tour of Shea's Seneca. Hook and Ladder and Schneider Development are both involved in the Coalition for a Vibrant Seneca Street.
"Seneca Street, traditionally and historically, was always viewed as the downtown of South Buffalo," Peter Scarcello, co-owner of Hook and Ladder, said. "We want to bring that feeling back to the community and it's happening. So it's exciting."
The two development groups are building off the momentum of Seneca Street, and each other, to develop property in South Buffalo and transform the neighborhood. These projects are coming together, in a sense, to restore some of the old glory to 'South Buffalo's downtown'.