The Lafayette Court Building: New Life for a Historic Building

The Lafayette Court Building located at 465 Main Street in Buffalo’s Central Business District is an icon. The 190,00 square foot landmark building was constructed in 1903 and was a popular downtown retail destination including well-known names like Hengerer’s, Sibleys and Kaufmans before being transformed into an office building in the mid 1980’s. In the decades that followed the Lafayette Court Building was home to many office users who were drawn to its prominent downtown location, proximity to Main Street and Buffalo’s light rail transit system, marble interiors and elegant interior fountains. With the rise in popularity of downtown office space, an update to the traditional interiors was in order and in 2022-23 major renovations were completed to ensure the future success of the building. A few of our favorite features of the renovation project include:

Main Lobby and Entrances

First impressions are important. It’s with this in mind that the design team set their sights on Lafayette Court’s entrances and main lobby. Connecting Main Street and Washington Street with entrances fronting both streets, the lobby is a travel corridor for some, a meeting place for many, and a bustling experience for all. Expanding the views through the lobby meant removing the interior fountains to open the space, relocating and reimagining the food and retail offerings, and opening the entrances to engage foot traffic. Visitors to the building are immediately immersed in a space more tuned in to the changing workplace. Bright spaces, engaging views, interesting features and accessibility are all key to the success of these renovations.

Original Artwork

Adding a touch of color and giving visitors and tenants an iconic experience unmatched in neighboring office buildings is being accomplished through the planned addition of original artwork created in partnership with a local artist. A collection of colorful pieces are envisioned, telling an interesting tale of the buildings rich past and exciting future. Calling out icons of both past and present while introducing color and movement to the space really accentuates the team’s efforts to open the space and make it more engaging. The fact that the tool of choice is original artwork makes a bold statement.

Retail Food Service

A new concept in food service comes from the reintroduction of a Downtown favorite. While the standard fare has always been popular with building tenants and the downtown community, a new, larger space is welcoming and planned offerings will be a smart combination of fresh and pre-packaged for any schedule and budget. Enter the space from Washington Street or through the building lobby. Large garage style doors are engaged to close off sections of the space for events or other unique programming. Ample seating is also available for those that want to take a quick break.

Fitness Center

A mainstay of modern office environments, the work/play balance makes a fitness center a necessity. This bright and inviting wellness option is open to tenants only as an amenity to the building and offers the newest fitness equipment. Private cabin style changing rooms complete with their own sink and shower stall are a modern upgrade that ensures privacy and comfort of all users. A great option for those looking to get in a quick workout before or after the workday or even during their lunch break.

Keeping a pulse on the needs of a modern and changing workforce has become increasingly important post-covid, as businesses look to provide quality office environments that engage employees and support their time in the office. The Lafayette Court Building has done just that in this latest renovation, ensuring the building’s iconic status among downtown office buildings for years to come.

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