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Old September 29th, 2007, 05:35 AM   #1
Fishnat22
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BUFFALO | City Tower | 600ft | 41 fl | Canceled

40-story office-hotel structure also would be most expensive

By SHARON LINSTEDT
News Staff Reporter
10/25/2006


Sketch by Cannon Design shows proposed building, which, at 600 feet, would be Buffalo's tallest.

The British developer who recently bought the faded Statler Towers wants to construct what would be Buffalo's tallest, most expensive building.
Bashar Issa, of Manchester, England, confirmed Tuesday he wants to build a 40-story, 1.2-million-square-foot skyscraper at the corner of South Elmwood Avenue and West Mohawk Street, one block north of City Hall.

At 600 feet tall, the $361 million, ultra-contemporary glass and steel office, hotel and condo tower would eclipse the HSBC Center in height by 33 feet and would rank among the tallest buildings between New York City and Chicago.

"It will give new hope to Buffalo. It will be a symbol of rebirth for those who live and work here and to those outside the region that this is a city on the rise," Issa said.

The developer, who has just embarked on an $80 million makeover of the historic Statler building, said he's not banking on any public funds for the most expensive building ever proposed for Buffalo.

"We plan to privately finance it. I believe projects should work without public money, and if it comes, that's a bonus," Issa said.

While Buffalo has a long history of dramatic development projects that have never seen the light of day, those connected with Issa's proposal say he has the resources to get the building constructed.

The building, designed by Grand Island-based Cannon Design, would include 500,000 square feet of office space spread over 20 floors, topped by a 10-story, 300-room luxury hotel. The top 10 floors would house about 80 condominiums priced at $500,000 and up. The tower also incorporates interior parking space for more than 800 vehicles.

Cannon's Harry L. Warren, the project's lead architect, said he drew his inspiration for the translucent tower from winter scenes at Niagara Falls.

"It's evocative of a frozen waterfall. It's crystalline and faceted," Warren said. "Because you'll be able to see through it, it will be light and airy, touching lightly on the landscape."

Another unusual design feature is metal lattice work that will cover three sides of the glass facade, working to deflect glare both outside and inside the building.

"It is rather like a bride's veil. You can see her face, but you also see the diaphanous screen. It's very intriguing," Warren said.

The decidedly contemporary design received positive reviews from a group of local architects who were briefed on the project earlier this week. John Laping, of Kideney Architects, who also serves as chairman of the Buffalo Preservation Board, said Buffalo is the perfect location for the distinctive structure.

"We didn't have anything like the Guaranty Building when it was built. The Darwin Martin house design was a one-of-kind," Laping said. "Those are architectural icons we've learned to love. I don't know why we can't love a beautiful glass tower, too."

The new building, to be located on what is now a surface parking lot, would be built to the rear of the new federal courthouse. That planned 10-story, semi-elliptical building also relies heavily on glass and light in its modernistic design.

At $361 million, the mixed-use tower surpasses the price tag of all other downtown buildings. By comparison, the HSBC Center, built in 1972, sold last year for $85 million and currently is back on the market at $121 million.

Cannon, whose portfolio has buildings across Western New York and around the world, was thrilled to take on Issa's challenge to design a signature skyscraper for downtown Buffalo.

"This is very special for us, professionally and personally. Not only is it the tallest building we've ever done, it's for our own community," Warren said.

Issa said he hopes to start construction by the end of 2008, with the first tenants in place in 2010.

"The starting time will depend on how long it takes to get through the design process and preleasing. We'd like to have it at least 40 percent leased when we begin," he said.

Cannon has signaled interest in moving its headquarters from Grand Island to the new building, which would bring about 200workers downtown.

George Hamberger, from RealtyUSA, who is representing Issa in his Buffalo projects, said he will be focusing on luring businesses from New York and Toronto to build a tenant base for the signature building.

"I see it as a carrot to bring some new blood to the market. For so long we were robbing from Peter to pay Paul to fill space downtown, but we're now attracting new businesses, and this will aid that cause," Hamberger said.

Mayor Byron W. Brown also sees the proposed tower as a symbol of changing economic times for the city.

"Over the past year, we've seen tremendous investment citywide, and particularly in downtown. These types of proposals reinforce the value and benefit of investing in Buffalo," Brown said, calling the design "bold and exciting."

Issa's project also has captured the interest of competing Buffalo developers, like Amherst's Uniland Development Co., with two nearby projects. "It's encouraging to see out-of-town interest in a project that would further the progress already under way in building a vital downtown core," said Uniland's Michael Montante.















The Skyline renderings are not originally by Cannon, it's just a rough render. too wide etc.

Proposed to the City, land is in Issa's possession..only time will tell.

Read more at: http://builtbuffalo.com/forums/index...de879889119d28

Last edited by Fishnat22; November 4th, 2007 at 11:50 PM.
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Old September 29th, 2007, 06:26 AM   #2
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All right, some more info:

*Bashar Issa bought the tower site in May for an even $1 million.

*Construction can begin next summer or anytime in 2009. My peoples say its around 20% sold, 20% away from his 40% goal in order to start construction.

*Main anchor tenant is being negotiated.

Heres a video which is from www.buffalorising.com
http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1113826316

Last edited by Dimension; September 29th, 2007 at 07:07 AM.
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Old September 29th, 2007, 06:47 AM   #3
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how tall is that building all the way on the left??
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Old September 29th, 2007, 06:50 AM   #4
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The HSBC on the right is 567 i think
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Old September 29th, 2007, 06:54 AM   #5
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529ft or 161 meters.

Buffalo City Tower is approved. The heading is incorrect.

Can a mod change it to approved?

Last edited by Dimension; September 29th, 2007 at 07:24 PM.
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Old September 29th, 2007, 06:57 AM   #6
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heading is fixed, thanks for the update!
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Old September 29th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #7
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Some non-related development.

13 story Waterfront Place is under construction. U/C

23 story Gates Circle is said to be more than 30% sold. Approved

Issa has been looking at the Central Terminal also.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 02:54 AM   #8
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buffalo really needs a project like this one, it would help its economy, that really isn't that great at the moment. If one starts, usually if it goes well, others follow...
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Old October 1st, 2007, 03:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romanamerican View Post
buffalo really needs a project like this one, it would help its economy, that really isn't that great at the moment. If one starts, usually if it goes well, others follow...
Buffalo is experiencing some bigtime development downtown, a project like this really can embody that.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 03:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimension View Post
529ft or 161 meters.

Buffalo City Tower is approved. The heading is incorrect.

Can a mod change it to approved?
569 feet on the lower Main Street side and 529 feet on the upper Main Street side. It is built into a dip in the terrain that is why you often see some sources list the height as 529 and others as 569 feet
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Old October 1st, 2007, 07:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
569 feet on the lower Main Street side and 529 feet on the upper Main Street side. It is built into a dip in the terrain that is why you often see some sources list the height as 529 and others as 569 feet
Umm....that parking lot is pretty flat- definitely not a 40' dip.

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Old October 1st, 2007, 07:20 AM   #12
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I'm guessing Jerome was referring to the HSBC Tower on Main.

I'm glad to hear Issa's tower already has 20% pre-leased! Hopefully an anchor tenant will easily fill the rest.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 08:04 AM   #13
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this issa guy has been trying to build a tower in manchester -
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...256915&page=30

you can read about it there. yes his building company really did dig down to the electric mains. "regional electricity company supply of electricity on site as numerous circuits were found unearthed and combined neutral earth conductors were used to supply electrical equipment."
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Old October 1st, 2007, 03:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylorhoge View Post
wow looks great cant wait to see it being prepeed what are the nimbys saying about this?
suprisingly nothing. from what ive heard, everyone agrees this benefits the whole city. issa will also have the statler that he purchased, essentially down the street. it's also going to help take out some of the holes the streetscape buffalo has. the dense parts of downtown are really stunning, patching all of the whole makes a great feel
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Old October 1st, 2007, 04:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECoastTransplant View Post
Umm....that parking lot is pretty flat- definitely not a 40' dip.

You are ignorant. The FACT is the lower Main St side of One HSBC Center to the top is 567 feet. The upper Main street side to the top is 529 feet. Notice how far the trolley drops as it goes under the building. Or simply look at the building from HSBC Arena and you can see the difference. It's all in the lay of the land. I am referring to the building not a parking lot.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 04:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homestar View Post
I'm guessing Jerome was referring to the HSBC Tower on Main.

I'm glad to hear Issa's tower already has 20% pre-leased! Hopefully an anchor tenant will easily fill the rest.
Ahh! I thought we was trying to explain why there was confusion over the height of City Tower.

Jerome calling someone ignorant....
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Old October 1st, 2007, 07:39 PM   #17
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wow looks great cant wait to see it being prepeed what are the nimbys saying about this?
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Old October 1st, 2007, 08:21 PM   #18
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i think this would be agreat addition to the skyline. it need to be updated.
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 01:29 AM   #19
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Okay, I'm not saying that it is 20% pre-leased, I'm saying that people that I know have been giving me numbers are 20% is the average number.
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 10:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylorhoge View Post
wow looks great cant wait to see it being prepeed what are the nimbys saying about this?
They haven't said anything probably because he is renovating the Statler and might buy The Central Terminal Building.
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