Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Support grows for Peter Hunt's Vision

Imagine a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the biggest condos in Buffalo and a Tiffany’s jewelry store, all in one building, atop a new and much larger Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Now put that all in downtown Buffalo, at the foot of Main Street, right next to Canalside. And the building’s already there.

Welcome to Peter F. Hunt’s new high-end vision for Buffalo’s tallest edifice, One Seneca Tower. At 38 stories, it is the most dominant property in the city, with views that extend throughout Western New York and even as far as Toronto when the skies are clear.

But the former One HSBC Center is also 95 percent vacant and in foreclosure, after its three largest tenants all left, leaving only about 20 small offices on the upper floors and barely any tenant revenue. And that has left many real estate observers such as Hunt, chairman and CEO of HUNT Real Estate – as well as developers and rival property owners – concerned, frustrated and perplexed about what to do.

That’s because there simply isn’t enough office demand to fill up the space. Given the building’s size – 851,000 square feet – and the average pace at which Buffalo’s downtown market takes up empty real estate, it would take 10 to 15 years to absorb it. Also, it would need to be updated to try to meet the needs of today’s tenants.

To read the entire article by J. Epstein of The Buffalo News click here.