And of course, they are planning on multiple options for coffee. “Coffee is very important to the tech community, and we’d like for there to be enough options that everybody is satisfied.”
Above the food hall is a state-of-the-art conference center. It features seven technology-equipped conference rooms that are connected via an indoor pedestrian bridge to two more conference rooms above the main lobby, with windows overlooking the activity below. That’s in addition to the 250-person auditorium on the main level, as well as an enormous open event hall behind the elevators that overlooks Main Street and the plaza.
And all of the spaces can be used for events, he added. For example, he noted, a company or group could do a big presentation in the auditorium, and then partition off part of the lobby for a reception.
“This space is an open book. It could be anything,” Heidinger said. “We can go out and pitch Seneca One and Buffalo in general to large tech conferences, so we can start bringing in bigger events and bigger collaborative gatherings to Buffalo.”
Then there’s the one-story stone clubhouse on the plaza level at the northeast corner of Seneca and Main, which Heidinger calls a “community asset” with “a little bit of everything.” He said M&T has already been using it for team-building, presentations, creativity sessions and decision-making meetings.
The rustic but industrial interior features a working stone fireplace and chimney, a Foosball table and other games, and various couches, tables and other furniture. The wooden walls – from a barn in Eden – are adorned with artwork and vintage signage, like an original Coca-Cola billboard from 1947, a neon Ford Tractor sign, and round silver plates from the basement of the old Buffalo Police Headquarters, which Jemal also owns.
A 1926 Douglas Motorcycle Company bike hangs from the ceiling at one end. There’s also an old-fashioned wood bar – with lights and stools – that was shipped here from England and reassembled. “It was like a big Lego set when it showed up,” Heidinger said.
The building also has WiFi and a sound system. “We’re going to use this as much as we can,” Heidinger said. “The idea is to get out of the office, and get in somewhere where it feels more comfortable. It’s an escape, kind of like you’re in Ellicottville.”
A second clubhouse on the other side of Main, as well as two standalone buildings on the plaza, will be filled with other retailers or restaurants. Heidinger said Jemal has “probably 10 different local people interested” in the space, but nothing is definite yet.
“A little bit of everything is key,” he said. “A diverse selection down here will help to bring people out of the tower, but also bring people from Main Street and the business district down here to the tower.”
Published by The Buffalo News