Jemal names Ciminelli Real Estate to handle Seneca One tower leasing

Tue, Aug 11th 2020 03:15pm

Jonathan D. Epstein
The Buffalo News

Douglas Jemal’s Douglas Development Corp. has hired Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. to manage Seneca One tower and fill up its commercial space, taking another step forward in its effort to remake Buffalo’s tallest skyscraper.

Ciminelli was named property manager and exclusive commercial leasing agent for the 1.2-million-square-foot complex downtown, with a particular focus on recruiting technology-oriented companies nationwide to the 38-story tower, as well as tenants for the plaza-level retail space. The firm is responsible for leasing and managing the commercial and retail space, as well as managing the 115 residential apartments in the annex portion of the complex. Douglas Development will maintain control of residential leasing.

Ciminelli, a prominent Buffalo-based developer, already owns, manages and has developed more than 17 million square feet of commercial space.

The effort will be led by Executive Vice President Kyle Ciminelli, who joined his father’s firm in November after 15 years with Newmark Knight Frank in New York City. While at Newmark, he leased major technology-sector redevelopment projects, such as Chelsea Market, the Milk Studios Building, Industry City and the Hines’ Hudson Square portfolio, and also represented technology clients such as WebMD in their lease negotiations.

“My global industry connections, and an intimate understanding of the office environment tech-centric companies are creating, helps position our team to attract a great deal of attention to this project,” Ciminelli said in a statement. “Additionally, the management experience of Ciminelli Real Estate Corp with downtown buildings and mixed-use projects promises to deliver substantial value to the owners, tenants, and visitors of Seneca One.”

Jemal is leading a $120 million redevelopment of the tower complex, formerly the headquarters of HSBC Bank USA, which has been vacant for five years. His redesign has included the creation of apartments in the annex buildings, new retail buildings on the plaza, two new clubhouses at the front entrance along Seneca Street, new driveways, an overhaul of the lower facade with new brick, stone and windows, and a massive paint job for the entire tower.

The redevelopment has already attracted M&T Bank Corp. as the anchor tenant, with a new technology hub that will occupy two basement levels and 11 tower floors, with up to 1,500 employees. It’s also being joined by 43North and its portfolio companies, as well as technology firms Odoo and Lighthouse Technology Services.

“It’s very important not only for us, but for Western New York, that this project serve as a successful anchor in the Central Business District, which is why we hired the team at Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation,” Jemal said. “I have every confidence that their insights and energy will not only benefit Seneca One and Douglas Development, but ultimately, will further the very real thinking that Buffalo is the perfect place for tech firms to call home.”