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Jemal buys former Century Theater downtown web site for potential new 10-story undertaking | Business Local


The half-acre floor car parking zone throughout from the Mohawk Ramp in downtown Buffalo is destined for one thing larger as soon as once more.

Washington developer Douglas Jemal is shopping for the property at 513 Main St. and 486 Washington St., with plans for a multi-story, mixed-use constructing with flats and ground-floor retail area. The location is underneath contract, however Jemal wouldn’t disclose particulars but.

Jemal mentioned specifics are nonetheless in flux, and a undertaking should be a few years away, particularly given building delays.

However Jemal envisions the potential for as a lot as a 10-story constructing with 300,000 sq. toes of area. At a mean of about $200 per sq. foot, that may very well be a $60 million undertaking.

“We’re real excited about this,” Jemal mentioned, calling it “a very important strategic piece of property in the overall master plan.”

As together with his different tasks, Jemal mentioned the objective is to carry exercise and life again to elements of downtown Buffalo the place there are gaps, making a extra vibrant and interactive central enterprise district.

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“The whole downtown loop needs to be redone,” he mentioned. “It’s been spotty, and it needs connections. That’s really been my vision all along in Buffalo.”

Jemal’s Douglas Improvement Corp. was chosen by a overview panel to transform the 629-space parking ramp right into a multi-story undertaking that would come with 200 flats and 800 parking areas.

The proposed undertaking, close to the place the previous Loew’s Century Theater as soon as stood, would add to the density Jemal is making an attempt to create in that neighborhood.

He already is shopping for the city-owned Mohawk Ramp on the opposite facet of Washington for a minimum of $3 million, with plans to spend one other $45 million to transform it into one other massive mixed-use undertaking. Plans name for including two extra flooring of parking and 4 flooring of 200 flats on high of the prevailing 627-space ramp.

Preliminary preparations have begun, with a research underway of the structural power of the power.

Jemal additionally intends to spend one other $110 million to redevelop the adjoining Simon Electrical properties, with 400 extra flats and retail area – for a complete of 600 models between the properties. The undertaking will take a number of years.

“It makes an awful lot of sense,” Jemal mentioned. “To have the opportunity to look at all of this is very unique and very special.”

All of these properties are close to Jemal’s different holdings on Major Avenue – the place he owns the Hyatt Regency Buffalo and three buildings throughout the road – in addition to the Statler, the Police Flats and the previous Mahoney State Workplace Constructing that he plans to transform right into a boutique lodge.

“I didn’t come to Buffalo just to buy Seneca One,” Jemal mentioned. “Once I got involved in the fabric of the city, I got involved heart and soul, and it’s the legacy that I want to leave.”

“Residential is doing very well, and it really says something, after coming out of Covid, that we could create a living downtown,” Jemal mentioned. “Our time has come, and it’s an exciting time for Buffalo, and the community deserves it. This is where I’m leaving my legacy.”







513 Main parcel map

This Metropolis of Buffalo parcel map exhibits the Allpro Parking zone – former web site of the Century Theater – at 513 Major St., extending again to Washington Avenue.




Jemal’s newest goal property has a protracted and storied historical past in Buffalo. Initially a block of multi-story brick business buildings within the 1800s and early 1900s, it was replaced in 1921 by the 3,076-seat Century Theater, which Loews operated for motion pictures for a number of years earlier than turning it over to Michael Shea in 1928. The theater entrance was on Major, whereas the majority of the constructing stretched again towards Washington.







Century-1932

The Century Theater on Major Avenue in a 1932 picture. 




The theater was later leased to Nikitas Dipson – founding father of Dipson Theatres – after which restored at a price of $50,000 within the Nineteen Forties. Its subsequent large iteration got here 30 years later, when Harvey Weinstein and Corky Burger used it for rock live shows within the Seventies, underneath Harvey & Corky Productions, earlier than it was torn down in 1984. That is when it grew to become a car parking zone.

One in all Buffalo’s storied film homes handed by way of the fingers of a number of icons of the Buffalo movie show enterprise earlier than ending as too many Buffalo buildings have: an open

The parcel is now owned by a group led by Dr. Joseph R. Takats III, but additionally nonetheless together with Weinstein. The property is leased to Allpro Parking, which has operated an 80-space lot there for greater than 20 years, mentioned Allpro CEO Richard Serra.

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood movie mogul now forged as a sexual predator, traces the roots of his present enterprise dominance to his arrival on the College at Buffalo campus within the fall of

It was put into play final fall when Toronto-based Goldwynn Residential USA supplied to purchase the property, to be able to assemble a mid-rise glass-facade condominium constructing with as much as 20 flooring and 200 flats. That undertaking had been focused for the Mohawk Ramp redevelopment, however Goldwynn misplaced out to Jemal.

That triggered a clause in Allpro’s lease that gave Serra the right-of-first-refusal, so he made a counteroffer. However when Jemal expressed his personal curiosity within the web site, Serra – who already manages Jemal’s parking garages at Seneca One – agreed to again away, assign his rights to Jemal, and as a substitute work with the developer to handle any future parking wants within the new undertaking.

“I worked well with him. The guy is brilliant on taking old stuff and making it new,” Serra mentioned. “I look forward to working with Douglas Jemal on this project and any future projects that involve parking.”



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