Owner of Seneca One tower buys landmark Statler City from Croce family

Posted at 5:16 PM, May 27, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Douglas Development is expanding its footprint in downtown Buffalo with the purchase of another historic building.

The Washington, D.C.-based real estate developer has acquired Statler City, the landmark hotel and events facility on Delaware Avenue at Niagara Square, according to sources close to the deal.

This is the latest purchase in recent years by Douglas Jemal, owner of Douglas Development. Jemal is also behind the massive redevelopment of the Seneca One tower. He gifted the City of Buffalo millions of dollars in tax breaks that he would have received from the building's redevelopment, which is being invested into re-opening roads on the lower part of Main Street to vehicular traffic.

Statler City had been owned by the late Mark Croce since 2011. Croce salvaged a then-crumbling building that was in foreclosure when he swooped in.

As the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team reported in 2018, Croce was given more than $5 million in New York State grants to redevelop the hotel and event space. So far, the first three floors have been renovated. The remaining 16 floors are left for the building's new owners to re-imagine.

At the time, Croce told 7 Eyewitness News Anchor Ed Drantch that it would cost $125 million to renovate the entire building.

Croce died this past January in a helicopter crash.

Croce's family and city officials are expected to share details about the acquisition in a news conference on Thursday.