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Zemsky Plans New Larkin District Building

Buffalo Business First [ View Original Article ]

Business First - by James Fink

Tuesday, Februrary 1, 2011

Capital Management Services Inc. will be the sole tenant of a proposed 56,000-square-foot building planned for Buffalo's fast-emerging Larkin District.

The project is the first new building in the Larkin District, a stretch of Buffalo that runs along Seneca, Van Rensselaer and Hydraulic streets, in several decades and follows a development partner that has seen several historic structures brought back to life with new ownership and investment dollars.

A series of public hearings and meetings are set for the next few weeks to address plans by Larkin Development Group to construct Capital Management's new, Buffalo headquarters. The $8.6 million project will be the subject of a Feb. 7 public hearing by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, which is considering an incentive package for the building. The ECIDA's full board of directors are scheduled to vote on the package during their Feb. 14 meeting.

The project is also on the Feb. 15 Buffalo Planning Board agenda.

Howard Zemsky, Larkin Development Group partner, said he hopes to start construction this spring and have the building ready for Capital Management by early 2012.
Capital Management was the first tenant to move into the 10-story, 600,000-square-foot Larkin at Exchange Building that Zemsky brought back to life a decade ago. The debt collection agency, with more than 1,000 employees, occupies the seventh floor of the Larkin at Exchange Building.

Jeffrey Hauser, Capital Management chief executive officer, said he is pleased that Zemsky is able to develop the new building for his company.

"This new facility will accommodate continued growth while creating an environment that will allow our employees to continue to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients that include the largest insurers and purchasers of consumer debt," Hauser said.

Capital Management, a collection agency, has annual revenues of more than $68 million.

"As market conditions continue to evolve, CMS will be better able to meet these challenges as we intend to equip our new location with the most innovative technology making our associates even more productive," Hauser said.

The building is planned for a parcel just east of the Larkin at Exchange Building and is bordered by Hydraulic, Seneca and Carroll streets. The site is shovel-ready.

"Capital Management Services has a played a unique role in the re-emergence of the (Larkin) district, initially as our first tenant, and now, again as our first tenant in proposed, newly constructed space," Zemsky said. "Our respective companies were in their relative infancy when we began doing business together, and we have grown together on parallel paths - two improbable visions that have become realities during the past 10 years."

Zemsky said the ECIDA incentives, including sales, use and mortgage recording tax exemptions and a partial real property tax abatement, are key to seeing the project move forward.

Erie County Executive Chris Collins, an ECIDA director, said he will push for the incentives during the Feb. 14 meeting.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he is equally supportive of the project.

"I have personally viewed the transformation of the Larkin District on many occasions and believe this project will greatly assist in further stabilizing the neighborhood," Brown said