After the Administration Building was demolished in 1950,there was little hope for this quickly diminishing corner of the city. And for the most part, it remained this way for the rest of the century. You can see in the below pictures what was left of the Administration Building (left) – and that this partial brick wall was filled in and is now a tribute to The Larkin Company. The first sign of hope and revitalization for this once struggling district.
It wasn’t until the Larkin Development Group was established that this deserted land began having a vision. Their first project was to renovate the Larkin Terminal Warehouse, which was the last edition to the Larkin Complex prior to its demise. This building is now First Niagara Financial Group’s headquarters, with additional office space for companies such as Travers Collins – an integrated marketing communications firm. Growing up, it was interesting to watch these renovations take place, and during my time at Daemen College, I had the opportunity to attend a press conference in this newly restored building – surrounded by the historical memorabilia that is now on display in its lobby.
The Larkin Square was the Development Group’s next focus – with renovations taking place in the 2010 Spotlight Larkin Street Project. These renovations took place on Seneca Street between Fillmore Avenue and the Larkin District, improving streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, curbs, landscaping, lighting, benches, bus shelters and crosswalks.
Surrounding buildings that have been renovated in this district include the Schaefer Building, U Building, and 111 Hydraulic – all commercial properties that have been completed within the past two years.
Two projects that the Larkin Development Group is considering are 800 Exchange Street and the Mill Race Commons. 800 Exchange Street resembles a terminal warehouse, and is being designed for commercial use and storage. The Mill Race Commons was named after the historic Hydraulic neighborhood, which was home to the earliest manufacturing district in Buffalo.
The Larkin Development Group has done an outstanding job not only renovating the Larkin Complex but also capturing the history behind this district. The Larkin District is an example of Buffalo development at its best – helping to restore the image of this city, one renovation at a time.
Learn more about the history behind The Larkin District here!