Building on a nearly 50-year legacy of innovation and client-centered real estate solutions, three Uniland Development Company projects spanning industrial, office, and luxury residential were winners in their categories at Buffalo Business First’s 2023 Brick by Brick Awards.
“Brick by Brick honorees represent the best in class in real estate, construction, and development here in Western New York,” said John Tebeau, Business First publisher. “These exclusive awards celebrate not only these accomplishments but also the continued progression of Buffalo’s renaissance. This list of award-winning projects proves that the building industries represented here continue to persevere and flourish.”
Uniland’s projects that were honored are:
8 Dona Street Spec Industrial/Warehouse Facility in the Industrial category:
During the early years of Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz’s administration, he began bringing together various government agencies–including Erie County, the City of Lackawanna, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (EDICA), and its Industrial Land Development Corporation (ILDC) arm, as well as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Empire State Development (ESD)—to begin work on acquiring the site and adding the necessary infrastructure required for redevelopment. In a massive initiative led by Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz’s administration, Renaissance Commerce Park is a 240-acre burgeoning hub for a new generation of industrial activity in Western New York at the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna, NY.
In 2020, Uniland became the first developer to begin working in public-private partnership to build a 150,000 speculative single-story industrial building featuring 36’-40’ clear height and generous column spacing to serve as a hub for manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and trucking operations.
Prior to the facility’s formal opening, Uniland announced its first tenant at the 8 Dona warehouse, Total Quality Assurance International (TQAI), would occupy 108,000 square feet. Headquartered in Flushing, Michigan, TQAI specializes in Engineering, Logistics, Warehousing, Quality Control, Quality Inspection Services, Packaging and Rework for the automotive industry. TQAI established its Buffalo operations in 2011. A second tenant, Max Advanced Brakes—headquartered in Toronto, Canada—signed a lease for the remaining 42,000 square feet at 8 Dona Street to launch their first U.S. operations.
Today, Uniland has begun construction on a second 150,000 SF industrial facility that neighbors 8 Dona Street at 2 Steelworkers Way within Renaissance Commerce Park. Construction on the second building is expected to be completed in late 2023.
The Five Star Bank Centre in the New Office category:
As the Queen City of the Great Lakes and the second largest city in New York State, the Buffalo region has a storied banking tradition. Today, Buffalo’s economic renaissance is inspiring more financial institutions to expand into the market. Five Star Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Warsaw, N.Y.-based Financial Institutions, Inc. has dramatically expanded in Buffalo in recent years. This has been accomplished through strategic hires, new branch openings, and complementary financial services acquisitions.
To showcase this growing focus on the Buffalo market and foster higher levels of collaboration, Five Star Bank began considering their office needs to their support staff as they looked beyond COVID. The organization saw the value in a consolidated location to be the hub of their advanced business services and loan consolidation services.
While exploring a range of locations, Five Star consulted with Wendel on ways to envision their workspace for post-COVID success. In 2021, Five Star Bank announced they had signed a long-term lease for 30,000 SF at 6215 Sheridan Drive within Uniland’s Sheridan Meadows Corporate Park.
The Five Star Bank Centre is designed as a destination for associates to connect with their teams, collaborate, network, and innovate in flexible and meaningful ways. The Centre features an open-office setting with ample conference rooms and undesignated offices to strike the right balance between collaboration and privacy. In line with its strong focus on associate wellbeing, it features sit-stand desks, video conferencing technology in every conference room, and a wellness room. Windows were modified to welcome in more natural light, new landscaping was added as was a generator to enhance the facility’s resiliency.
Opened in the fall of 2022, Five Star Bank Centre serves as the Bank’s new Western New York regional administrative office as well as home to affiliate SDN Insurance Agency, LLC. Housing 100 local employees, the 30,000 SF space is designed to support their expanding banking, insurance, and residential lending operations in Buffalo.
The Gates Circle-Lancaster Avenue Luxury Townhomes in the New Construction category:
While showcasing his plans for Buffalo at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, boasted that Buffalo is “the best planned city, as to its streets, public places, and grounds, in the United States, if not in the world.” Earlier, Frederick Law Olmsted and his partner Calvert Vaux designed America’s first park system right here in Buffalo.
One of the most beautiful corridors within his Parkway System, Chapin Parkway, was designed by Olmsted and Vaux in 1874, and it originates at Gates Circle. Gates Circle was redesigned by noted architect E.B. Green in 1902 and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The area is also designated a Local Historic District by the City of Buffalo. Gates Circle is located in the heart of the Delaware District and a short walk from some of Buffalo’s crown jewels, including the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, Delaware Park, and the historic Elmwood Village. As a bridge to this legacy streetscape, Uniland’s Gates Circle-Lancaster Avenue Luxury Townhomes also overlapped with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted in 2022.
In 2006, Uniland purchased the Park Lane Restaurant and its surrounding property from restauranteur William Koessler with the vision to transform the property for residential use. Moving away from earlier visions for high-rise condos, in 2018, Uniland unveiled a plan–drafted with Foit-Albert Associates—to develop 12 townhomes at the site. Constructed from the summer of 2020 through early 2022, the seven Gates Circle and five Lancaster Avenue residences are visually distinct from each other to blend with the character of their historic streets.
Facing the landmarked Gates Circle Fountain, the seven Gates Circle residences are welcoming 3,900-square-foot, three-story townhomes that offer up to four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, plus a partial basement with a vault. These modern and sophisticated French Eclectic-style homes include a brick-and-stone exterior.
Each home comes complete with a foyer and front gated entrance facing the famous Olmsted Parkway. A private courtyard, complete with a built-in grilling station, and an elevator are standard amenities. An optional rooftop terrace was also offered.
The five Lancaster Avenue townhomes are spacious 2,500-square-foot, two-story residences with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms on a historic, tree-lined street. Offering a Victorian aesthetic, these Queen Anne-style homes seamlessly blend sophistication and charm with cedar shingles, lap siding, fieldstone exterior, and luxurious amenities throughout.
Visitors are welcomed to the residences via a private, covered front porch. Residents can entertain from their balcony or private courtyard, built-in grilling station. They have optional elevators for easy access to all floors.
The Brick by Brick Award winners were announced at a celebration on July 27.