As construction continued outside Seneca One Tower in Buffalo Thursday, a major economic development announcement was made inside. 

  • Seneca One Tower has 38 floors
  • M&T Bank to be the lead tenant
  • The corporation is headquartered in Buffalo

"That we believe is a significant opportunity for Buffalo. That will ignite economic growth and prosperity across the entire community," said Rene Jones, M&T Bank Corporation chairman and CEO.

M&T bank leaders announced they've selected Buffalo's tallest and longtime vacant building as the site of their new technology hub. 

The move is expected to add 1,500 jobs by mid-2020, as well as another thousand over the next few years. 

"Our jobs cover lots of different skill sets. It creates an ecosystem where people can learn from each other and actually continue to invest and invent in Buffalo," said Jones.

The Fortune 500 company recently signed a long-term lease for an initial 330,000 square feet of space, with an option for more.

Leaders say the bank will occupy two large floors in the plaza area of the building, as well as floors 13 through 23 of the 38-level tower.

"We chose this location because of its proximity to the downtown business corridor, its position as a connector from the Canalside to Pegulaville to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Also, because it's a space in a footprint that’s conducive of the kind of open, innovative and collaborative workspace that we'd like to design," said Jones.

"From the minute I looked at this building that it was the centerpiece, it was a linchpin to revitalization," said Doug Jemal, Douglas Development Corporation owner.

Jemal, of Douglas Development in Washington, D.C., purchased the building in 2016.

He says he partnered with M&T because it shared his vision for the tower and the city.

"Dream come true. We wanted to create a community. I wanted to create a sense of place. And really what it signifies when we put this together was we're all working in sync and lockstep to make this a great community," said Jemal.

"Further enhancing the Main Street corridor. Represents a giant leap forward in the city of Buffalo's ongoing economic renaissance," said Byron Brown, (D) Buffalo mayor.

The employees are expected to move in by the beginning of next year.