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Thread: What would you do with the One Seneca Tower

  1. #1
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    What would you do with the One Seneca Tower

    Preparing for 38 floors of emptiness at One Seneca Tower

    http://www.buffalonews.com/city-regi...tower-20131117


    One comment said they would like to see it turned into housing. Make the arrangements affordable for ordinary people.

    "make affordable" and what defines "ordinary people"?

    Is it possible?

    38 floors of office space.

    18,000 square feet of open space per floor

    684,000 sq feet.


    http://buffalo.craigslist.org/apa/4199406223.html


    2 bdrm. Starting at $695 Approximate 1000 SF, _ _ _ _ _
    1 Bedroom starting at $595*,
    I just wanted to see what size some apartments are.

    So for $695 you get 1000 SF. Is $695 considered affordable rent for ordinary people?

    If you had 684,000 square feet you could build 684 1000 sq foot apartments. Well not really because you would need hallways to get to each one.

    Think you could build 500 1000 sqr foot units on 38 floors?

    I'm just figuring.. 500 units X $695 monthly = $347,500 a month gross income.

    I wonder how much it would cost to build out 500 units. Didn't we hear some hud apartment cost $150,000 each to build? 500 X $150,000 = $75,000,000 million.

    If you borrowed $75,000,000 for 30 years at 0% interest your monthly payment would be $208,333 a month against your $347,500 gross profit leaving you $139,167 a month. I wonder what property/school tax would be on that building. You need to deduct that from the $139,167 a month. I wonder what other cost goes into running that building to calculate what each of the 38 floors would cost to operate a month.

  2. #2
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    And would the inner apartments have no windows? Or would apartments only be built along the window areas leaving a central area open.

    One floor's central area could be one large child day care center. Ordinary people work right? Gotta have economical day care. 500 apartments could mean at least 1 kid per apartment. 500 kids.

    http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-much...are_1199776.bc

    How much do daycare centers cost?

    Childcare for babies and toddlers
    While your child is in the baby and toddler stages, you'll pay more. That's because kids this age need more hands-on care and so the center must hire more caregivers. The average cost of center-based daycare in the United States is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly), according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). Parents report higher costs – up to $2,000 a month for infant care – in cities like Boston and San Francisco.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNYresident View Post
    Preparing for 38 floors of emptiness at One Seneca Tower

    http://www.buffalonews.com/city-regi...tower-20131117


    One comment said they would like to see it turned into housing. Make the arrangements affordable for ordinary people.

    "make affordable" and what defines "ordinary people"?

    Is it possible?

    38 floors of office space.

    18,000 square feet of open space per floor

    684,000 sq feet.




    I just wanted to see what size some apartments are.

    So for $695 you get 1000 SF. Is $695 considered affordable rent for ordinary people?

    If you had 684,000 square feet you could build 684 1000 sq foot apartments. Well not really because you would need hallways to get to each one.

    Think you could build 500 1000 sqr foot units on 38 floors?

    I'm just figuring.. 500 units X $695 monthly = $347,500 a month gross income.

    I wonder how much it would cost to build out 500 units. Didn't we hear some hud apartment cost $150,000 each to build? 500 X $150,000 = $75,000,000 million.

    If you borrowed $75,000,000 for 30 years at 0% interest your monthly payment would be $208,333 a month against your $347,500 gross profit leaving you $139,167 a month. I wonder what property/school tax would be on that building. You need to deduct that from the $139,167 a month. I wonder what other cost goes into running that building to calculate what each of the 38 floors would cost to operate a month.
    Rent for Depew and Downtown Buffalo are very different. Considering the height of the building, the location and the view, at base it would get a great deal more. It would need to be geared toward luxury apartments. "Ordinary people" are not going to flock to live in the heart of downtown.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNYresident View Post
    And would the inner apartments have no windows? Or would apartments only be built along the window areas leaving a central area open.
    Think that one through for a minute.

  5. #5
    Member leftWNYbecauseofBS's Avatar
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    The biggest challenge I see for the building is Seneca One Realty LLC purchased the tower in 2005 for about $93 million and put about $83 million of debt on the property, according to documents related to the debt offering. With all of the development that has happened in the last 8 years, in addition to, the lack of need for that much office space in the DT core the building is worth nowhere near that. For a comparison, One CanalSide (Former Donovan building) was redone for $30M.

    IMHO, the BEST thing that can happen is for Buffalo is for the owners to default on the building and have it be purchased for the current market value. This would allow for more reuse options. That said, I am assuming the guys behind Seneca One (Mark Karasick and Victor Gerstein) have connections to Albany and will be seeking some form of a bailout.


    As for what should/could be done with the building if you remove the issues related to Seneca One, I think keeping it as office space would be idea. A small business tech incubator would do wonders for the economy of the region. How that would be financed is the big question. Converting the biggest item in the skyline to affordable housing, is IMHO, the worst thing that could be done with the property. Just so many levels of bad on that.

  6. #6
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDude View Post
    Think that one through for a minute.
    I did. At least I think I did. I looked with google maps and didn't see an open center to the structure.


    18,000 square feet per floor means you have about 135 feet X 135 feet ~ 18,000 square feet to work with. Right? I can not recall ever being in the building. Or the building is more like 150 X 150 with a center area for piping/elevators.

    I quickly drew up what I meant by an open center.

    You either have about 135 X 135 giving you about 18,000 square feet. Or, you could have about 150 X 150 with an open center as shown below. If the area was open you can have windows.

    Floor plan

  7. #7
    Member nickelcityhomes's Avatar
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    I think it should be subsidized senior living. Every old person in western yew nork deserves a free ride.
    Most of all I like bulldozers and dirt

  8. #8
    Member leftWNYbecauseofBS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNYresident View Post
    I did. At least I think I did. I looked with google maps and didn't see an open center to the structure.


    18,000 square feet per floor means you have about 135 feet X 135 feet ~ 18,000 square feet to work with. Right? I can not recall ever being in the building. Or the building is more like 150 X 150 with a center area for piping/elevators.

    I quickly drew up what I meant by an open center.

    You either have about 135 X 135 giving you about 18,000 square feet. Or, you could have about 150 X 150 with an open center as shown below. If the area was open you can have windows.

    Floor plan

    You're not considering the elevator shafts or stairs.

  9. #9
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    Quote Originally Posted by leftWNYbecauseofBS View Post

    As for what should/could be done with the building if you remove the issues related to Seneca One, I think keeping it as office space would be idea. A small business tech incubator would do wonders for the economy of the region. How that would be financed is the big question. Converting the biggest item in the skyline to affordable housing, is IMHO, the worst thing that could be done with the property. Just so many levels of bad on that.
    Totally agree and that was why I was playing with numbers. I would put nothing past groups of people that will spend community tax money on costly projects. If they can skim a chunk for themselves they will never have an issue spending someone's money.

  10. #10
    Member leftWNYbecauseofBS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNYresident View Post
    Totally agree and that was why I was playing with numbers. I would put nothing past groups of people that will spend community tax money on costly projects. If they can skim a chunk for themselves they will never have an issue spending someone's money.
    Looks like the paper changed hands - http://www.wkbw.com/news/local/One-S...230980561.html

    The $74.5 million mortgage connected to the One Seneca Tower has been shifted to a financial work-out specialist firm whose niche is in major real estate holdings. According to U.S. CMBS Daily Special website, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, which held the loan covering the 38-story downtown Buffalo landmark, shifted the mortgage to CW Capital Asset Management, a special service of potentially troubled real estate loans and holdings. CMBS cited "imminent default" for the switch to CW Capital. The transfer was reported on Nov. 5. This also mentioned a very large ballon payment due February 2015.


    Also said:

    With the building virtually empty, save for a handful of remaining tenants, Seneca One representatives have been working with Buffalo officials on various development scenarios for the towering structure that dominates the downtown Buffalo skyline. Earlier this year, a team of experts from the Urban Land Institute suggested some form of mixed-use tenant composition may be its best option. Possible options could include a residential component, a hotel, restaurants and some Class A office space.

    Any future development scenario would likely require a heavy public sector subsidy or abatement package. Neither the City of Buffalo or Erie County have committed to a firm incentive offer, both citing they want to see a definitive development plan.


    I hope they block that but I really don't see how the city or county would be able to even offer a package.

  11. #11
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    Quote Originally Posted by leftWNYbecauseofBS View Post
    You're not considering the elevator shafts or stairs.
    If you re-read post 1 you see I mentioned

    If you had 684,000 square feet you could build 684 1000 sq foot apartments. Well not really because you would need hallways to get to each one.
    I should have added more than just hallways. Elevators etc...

    So I figure maybe get in 500 units versus 684 1000 square foot units.

    Only thing that triggered me to think about it was:

    One comment said they would like to see it turned into housing. Make the arrangements affordable for ordinary people.
    I could picture a group of people from the www.ecdems.com trying to push for something like this. Promise "affordable apartments" which usually means subsidized by other people to offset the costs. But then on the other hand we would have the republican pushing for any and all tax incentives to push something like that through.

  12. #12
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickelcityhomes View Post
    I think it should be subsidized senior living. Every old person in western yew nork deserves a free ride.
    What about younger people? They are people no less than old people. Don't they deserve to live in apartments with awesome city views?

  13. #13
    Member nickelcityhomes's Avatar
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    What about younger people? They are people no less than old people. Don't they deserve to live in apartments with awesome city views?
    They already have subsidized housing. It's called the Erie County Holding Center. It's not my fault if they don't take advantage of the free handout.

    As for everyone else, pound sand.
    Most of all I like bulldozers and dirt

  14. #14
    Member leftWNYbecauseofBS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNYresident View Post
    So I figure maybe get in 500 units versus 684 1000 square foot units.
    Converting the largest Office tower to residential would be horrible to the perception of the region. Think about how that would look to outsiders.

    Conversation..

    Someone from out of town: What is in that large ugly tower?
    Someone from Buffalo: It used to be an international bank but now it's low income housing. When the towered emptied they could not fill it with companies so they converted it to residential.
    Someone from out of town: Oh. That's......nice I guess.

    On the flip side, say the most visible tower in the city was used as a business incubator for startups and high tech companies.

    Someone from out of town: What is in that large ugly tower?
    Someone from Buffalo: It used to be an international bank but it's a small business incubator that focuses on tech startups. Companies go there for their first couple of years to collaborate with similar businesses. Instead of a 'valley' we have a silicon tower.
    Someone from out of town: Wow. That's is pretty freaking cool.

  15. #15
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    I'm just playing devils advocate. There really is not way to make low income housing without someone else footing the bill. We have more than enough of that now in Erie County/NYS.

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