New York City might be the biggest real estate market in the state, but Buffalo, NY has undergone a series of re-developments in the past few years that have transformed the city into a desirable destination for real estate investors.

In 2020, Buffalo should expect to see another busy development year on the commercial real estate front. Business First Research reports that projects in the eight-county region that were postponed, in construction, or completed in the last three years totaled $20.16 billion. That’s pretty remarkable, especially since $100 billion in projects have been tracked since 2013.

Of course, real estate developers are focused on keeping the momentum in CRE, but it won’t be hard with many of the development projects that are on board for the coming years. 

Major Commercial Developments in Buffalo, NY

In the past decade, Buffalo has experienced an urgency in development and it’s an issue investors have been keeping busy with in their own industry. Invest Buffalo Niagara, for instance, has kept track of the industry outlook with a list of 50 development-ready sites in the region, including possible timeframes and incentives.

So far, developers have continued to work on the $120 million plan for the 38-story landmark, Seneca One Tower, with tenants like M&T Bank and 43 North anchoring their businesses in the building by mid-year. Retail and residential clients are also eyeing spaces in the high-profile building.

Thinking Robot Studios of Halifax will begin construction on Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, an $84 million, 75,000 square-foot plant. Among Buffalo’s other lucrative investments, Generation Development Group LLC and local businessman Rick Smith are focusing on starting the first phase of the residential-focused Silo City project that will overlook the Buffalo River. The phase is estimated to cost $70 million and we could see the entire project exceed up to $100 million.

In North Buffalo, surrounding Elmwood and Hertel Avenues, Uniland Development has a series of mixed-use projects in development, including a $250 million upgrade of Eastern Hills Mall into Eastern Hills Town Center. In addition, Sinatra & Company Real Estate, in partnership with Ellicott Development, are finishing foundation construction on the first new mixed-use building at Elmwood Crossing.

Excitingly, the pipeline of CRE investments extends beyond Buffalo. For example, the $42 million renovation of the Hotel Niagara in Niagara Falls, the $5 million rehab of the Tuscarora Club in Lockport, and other nearby developments will stimulate growth, and even jobs, in Buffalo and the Western New York region.

Outlook for the Future

Overall, a diverse range of projects has stimulated revitalization in Buffalo and its surrounding areas. The long list of projects is ascertained through regional confidence that has been improving within the past decade, leading to large-scale investments and projects that are in development today. Compared to where Buffalo was ten years ago, this evolution is significant.

The confidence to urgently develop played a major role for big-name projects like the development of 201 Ellicott, a surface parking lot that will now become a 201-apartment building and include a Braymiller’s Market. Ten years ago, this project would have been unimaginable in the depressed real estate climate.

Developer confidence also supported projects like Rocco Termini’s Chandler Street developments and Ellicott Development’s 500 Pearl Building which includes an Aloft hotel, rooftop bar, and bowling alley.

On top of $40 million in investment projects in the Jefferson Avenue region and the $50 million The Forge on Broadway, the commercial real estate outlook for the coming decade looks promising as more jobs and residents are drawn to Buffalo.

Now, we’re finally seeing development in all Buffalo neighborhoods. As development efforts and initiatives keep up the momentum, commercial development is proving to be a transformative evolution and a promising landscape. In the next decade, we can expect to see the real estate sector drive a more prosperous Buffalo, New York.