One Seneca Tower to see transformation

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In about 6 months a transformation is expected to begin at Buffalo’s iconic One Seneca Tower.

Washington D.C. based Douglas Development Corporation plans to turn the building into a mixed use development. Several Buffalonians say a project like this has been a long time coming.

“When I was a kid I saw it going up and I thought to myself this is going to be a thing that brings Buffalo up it’s going to be a big deal and i think that it ended up mostly being wasted time and space and money,” said Jim Fish of Buffalo.

For years Jim Fish says the One Seneca Tower has represented wasted potential.

“It hasn’t been used for anything more than an attempt to fill it,” said Fish.

But now the 38 story tower is expected to see new life in the near future. Washington area developer Douglas Development Dorporation announced it executed a purchase and sales agreement to buy the iconic building.

“That building hasn’t done well in recent years but Buffalo itself has done very well so it hasn’t been an obstacle to our growth and if we keep making the right investments we’re going to keep attracting investments in buildings like One Seneca Tower,” said Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development President.

Douglas Jemal, President and founder of Douglas Development Corporation says the first part of construction will involve creating new retail space and buildings around the tower, to make the courtyard more pedestrian friendly. The tower would become a mixed use property, with office, residential, and hotel space.

“There isn’t a reason in the world to not believe that that building has a bright future given the transformation of Buffalo in recent years so we’re not surprised to see the interest,” said Zemsky.

“It’s still got potential and with Canalside and everything down here at the waterfront it’s the prime opportunity for a developer and prime business location for businesses to relocate to Buffalo and the great city that we have,” said James Day of Buffalo.

The developer doesn’t have a squeaky clean past  In 2007 the Washington Post reported Douglas Jemal avoided federal prison time. He faced a financial fraud conviction at one point, but a federal judge said that the good work he did outweighed his conviction and he was simply ordered to pay a fine. (

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