9/16/2009

First Niagara Off to Buffalo

Posted by MJ

As we may already know, First Niagara (former Lockport Savings Bank) is expanding again thru acquisitions and moving it Headquarters to Buffalo in the process.

Image: Improvements to Larkin District in Buffalo. LCo Reuse Structure in Rear.

Last weeks' articles:
First Niagara move of HQ to Buffalo seen as boost - Buffalo News
First Niagara moving HQ to Buffalo - Buffalo News
BANKING: First Niagara moving corporate headquarters to Buffalo - LUSJ
First Niagara Invests in Larkin's Future - Buffalo Rising

The good news is that 300 jobs are coming to the area while the local bank continues to grow. The move to Buffalo makes sence for a more central location and a higher profile than "Pendleton". Even better is their commitment to the Larkin Building, the 10 story former Graphic Controls Facility (TYCO) that was put on most people's death pool lists as it sat alone and disconnected from DT Buffalo. A great re-use success story that most people thought could not happen.

The Larkin Building shows what a Class-A transformation can do for an old structure. Granchelli's F&M building shows what good a "for lease" sign does along with no improvements (a lower assessment? ;) ). Harrison Place sits in the middle, tiny updates chasing low rent paying class C or lower users. This at least gives it hope for a better future.

The one Buffalo News article mentions:
"And if First Niagara keeps growing as bank executives hope, there could be more opportunities for new jobs locally in the future. "In the long term, where do we go with the call center? Where do we go with the data center?" Koelmel asked in an interview. "These are some of our bigger challenges."
Where do they go? The answer should be obvious to us. Will the City of Lockport get a call center? Will the Town of Lockport score another data center? Will space be ready to go? When Yahoo employees split off on their own endeavors will they want to stay and lay down roots here?

Harrison Place can be the Larkin Building and better. Residential directly to the south, DT directly to the north, summer concerts directly out the front door. Everything they are trying to create from scratch in the "Larkin District" already exists around Harrison Place. Maybe the Larkin Development Group would like to dabble a bit in Niagara County? They could have future First Niagara expansion in tow.

 
Image: LCo Reuse - Similar Fate Possible for Harrison Place?

5 comments:

Liz said...

I just hope they keep just as strong a Lockport / Niagara County presence as they have now and a commitment to further expanding here and not just in DT Buffalo. It is First NIAGARA, after all.

MJ said...

Seeing that is was Lockport Savings Bank, I guess they could change their name to First Buffalo ;) Though I doubt it. First Niagara is a nice generic name evoking the falls.

Rocketboy said...

They seem to have lost that 'local' bank feel the second they became a public company. Staffing at the actual banks is very low, and they even ran out of large bills on Saturday at the Lockport Transit location.

But I hate the new logo. It looks like a low-cost airline's logo.

MJ said...

That's the way it happens I guess. I was sad to see Buffalo Savings fold into First Niagara. ( I loved the real local flavor and the art deco inspired bank branches)

I too was curious about the logo change. I guess the old logo was not generic enough or maybe they felt a logo with the falls in it was to county-centric or maybe just not well regarded. ;)

Rocketboy said...

It'd say it was to generic it up. If you look at it, unless you knew what it was, you wouldn't know that's what it was.

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