The evolving look of downtown Buffalo is more than just a fresh coat of paint on Seneca One tower.
"Downtown has changed or for the positive in the past 10 years and I see nothing but more positive changes coming as we move forward," said Michael Schmand, executive director of Buffalo Place.
The nonprofit organization supports and advocates for downtown Buffalo and its businesses.
He sees continued growth despite slowdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — especially when it comes to construction.
"We're setting downtown Buffalo up for the future. Not next week or the week after, but for years to come," Schmand said.
Douglas Development's transformation of the once-vacant Seneca One into apartments, a tech hub for M&T, and more might be the most visible change.
But that group is also working on revamping the former Buffalo Police Headquarters, restoration of the Statler building started by the late developer Mark Croce, and the newest proposal, a residential building on what's currently a parking lot surrounded by the Skyway and 190 ramps.
"[Developers and city leaders have] created a 24/7 downtown which is a true indication that downtown Buffalo is moving forward," Schmand said.
Earlier this year, Spectrum News reported demand for downtown living is high. And if people want to live downtown, they'll need a place to buy fresh food. Ciminelli Real Estate's massive project at 201 Ellicott Street is going up quickly. It will include a Braymiller Market that is slated to open next spring, along with 200 affordable apartments that should be ready next summer.
The new Buffalo train station near Canalside is full steam ahead and is expected to open later this fall.
Other projects are underway from the Buffalo River stretching toward the medical campus and work on the Cars Sharing Main Street initiative to bring vehicle traffic back to the thoroughfare continues.
And Schmand hopes more businesses and entertainment options will reopen once the pandemic has passed.
"One of the things that we are missing right now are the employees in downtown Buffalo, but when they come back it's going to be a clean, safe, and fun environment to be a part of," he said.