“Inside Look: 250 Delaware”

Over 200 construction workers each day are plying their trades at 250 Delaware, Uniland Development Company’s mixed-use building downtown. The building’s glass façade is nearly in place, a five-story parking ramp is being constructed piece by piece along South Elmwood Avenue, mechanical and finish work is happening throughout the interior, and the terra cotta on the building’s ground level is now being installed. Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects and local firm HHL Architects designed the 12-story, $110 million building that anchors the Delaware and Chippewa street corner.

Dennis Steszewski’s calendar has a big circle around August 1st. He is Uniland’s project manager and that is the date Delaware North Companies is scheduled to occupy its office space on the upper floors of the structure. Framing for interior walls is well underway in Delaware North’s 110,000 sq.ft. of space on a portion of the eighth and all of the ninth through twelfth floors.

Delaware North’s executive offices will occupy the twelfth floor with sweeping views of downtown, the historic West Village, and the waterfront. An outdoor patio is located on this level overlooking the Delaware and Chippewa Street intersection (above). Since the top floor is recessed, five offices will have direct access to an outdoor walkway that extends along the east and south facades.

The twelfth floor features a 10’ 3” ceiling height. Some of Delaware North offices will feature glass walls and will be stepped back from the exterior walls to allow for an employee corridor. One of the most unique features of the building is the elliptical spaces running up the building at the corner of Delaware and Chippewa streets. There are multiple, two-story spaces above the building’s main lobby. The top two will be meeting/conference facilities for Delaware North.

The corner conference area on the tenth and eleventh floors will feature a glass-enclosed “skyboxed” meeting room floating in the center of the two-story space. A 23’ tall, two-story conference/meeting room on the eighth and ninth levels will feature stadium style seating and will be used by Delaware North. The bottom pair of multi-story spaces will be used by the Westin.  The hotel’s interior layout is still being designed but one of the spaces is expected to be a conference facility and the second a fitness center. There is about 80,000 sq.ft. of Class A office space for other tenants.

The Department of Homeland Security has leased a little over 50,000 sq.ft. of space in the building.  Key Bank is taking 12,000 sq.ft. on the sixth floor and will also have a bank branch off the main lobby along W. Chippewa Street.With the three leases, the building’s 193,000 sq.ft. of office space is 90 percent pre-leased. 15,700 sq.ft. of office and 5,200 sq.ft. of retail remain.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Westin Buffalo will occupy the first five floors of the new building and feature a separate entrance and lobby on Delaware Avenue. It will be owned and operated by Delaware North and feature 118 guest rooms, 4,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting facilities, a “Neapolitan inspired Italian” restaurant operated by Delaware North’s Patina Restaurant Group, and all the Westin brand’s signature services and amenities, except a pool.

The hotel floors are empty as the space is still being designed to meet Westin’s exacting standards (above). Westin Buffalo will welcome its first guests in 2016. Westin’s restaurant and lobby will extend along Delaware Avenue on the first floor. The main lobby is located at Delaware and Chippewa streets and features 22’ tall ceilings. The north end of the ground floor will have a covered driveway that will serve as a drop-off for hotel guests and will lead to the parking ramp.An urban courtyard will be located in the center of the complex.

There are two uncommitted spaces in the building: a small amount of office space on the eighth floor and a retail space at the corner of W. Chippewa and S. Elmwood Avenue.  The retail area is available by choice.

“There’s been lots of interest in the space,” says Jill Pawlik, Uniland’s senior marketing manager.  She says restaurants, medical practitioners, and others have inquired about the corner location.  “We are being careful who we lease to.” There will be 593 parking spaces in a parking ramp on the west side of the site and under the building. The ramp is quickly coming together as pre-cast pieces are put in place like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Ramp sections are staged at the Gateway Metroport complex in Lackawanna and trucked in as needed. Semis, arriving two or three at a time, are too heavy to travel the skyway into downtown.

Masons are busy installing the ground level’s terra cotta (more on the stunning results in a future post). A terra cotta louver system will cover floors two through five where the hotel rooms are located (above).

Steszewski has spent most of the last decade working on Uniland’s downtown projects. He oversaw the transformation of the Dulski Building into the mixed-use Avant and most recently worked on the Catholic Health Administrative Center on Oak Street.

“This one has been the most challenging,” he says. “We’re on a tight schedule, it’s a constrained site on busy streets, and we’ve had to deal with a tough winter.” How tough? “Minus ten degrees tough,” he says.

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