Phillips Lytle LLP, one of the region’s preeminent law firms, cut the ribbon today on its new 85,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art offices. The law firm occupies the top four floors of the eight-story former Donovan State Office Building, now known as One Canalside.
“This new space offered us a blank canvas to create a law office that will be a vehicle for outstanding client service by enabling collaboration, efficiency and innovation. Our firm has grown and prospered on lower Main Street for the last 179 years and we look forward to continued success while contributing to the vibrancy of Canalside,” said David J. McNamara, Managing Partner, Phillips Lytle.
Lieutenant Governor Duffy took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, praising the vision and momentum that is sparking a bright future of Buffalo’s historic Erie Canal Inner Harbor and Buffalo’s entire waterfront.
“Thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s steadfast leadership, Buffalo is experiencing a major transformation in the region’s economy, and nowhere is that more evident than along the city’s waterfront,” Lieutenant Governor Duffy said. “Benderson Development Company’s innovative vision for the former Donovan State Office Building transformed this space into a functional, state-of-the-art home for Phillips Lytle. Today’s ribbon cutting continues to build on the momentum we have created throughout the region, and I would like to thank all of our partners who played a role in making today possible.”
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC), a state entity that supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities along Buffalo’s waterfront, assumed title to the Donovan Building in December 2007 and started asbestos remediation. It later decided the best use for the building would be adaptive reuse and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of the building which was awarded to Benderson Development Company.
In July 2011, Benderson Development Company and Phillips Lytle formally announced the first significant private investment in the emerging Canalside area. The more than $30 million project involved stripping the vacant government building down to its steel beams and giving it a modern exterior and ultra-functional interior.
Eric Recoon, Vice President of Development & Leasing, Benderson Development Company, welcomed One Canalside’s anchor tenant and thanked Phillips Lytle for its unwavering belief that the 51-year-old steel skeleton of the former Gen. William J. Donovan State Office Building could become a catalyst for future waterfront investment.
“We are thrilled to welcome Phillips Lytle – the first occupant in the first private sector development in this emerging district – into the aptly named One Canalside building. Years ago, when Benderson first became involved with Canalside, we had a vision of being part of a true urban renaissance occurring at Buffalo’s Inner Harbor,” Mr. Recoon said.
“Phillips Lytle shared that vision – and collectively we have helped create something special. We are so proud to be aligned with this historic Buffalo law firm, in this exciting new district and in this iconic new structure,” he added.
Rep. Brian Higgins, a long-time advocate of redevelopment of Buffalo’s waterfront said One Canalside “represents more than just an address.”
“It is a statement of confidence in the future of our waterfront, our city and our region,” Rep. Higgins said. “We laid the groundwork through infrastructure investments at our waterfront; Phillips Lytle believed in what was happening and made a commitment long before construction trucks were the booming presence they are today. Their leap of faith as the first private sector office tenant at Canalside constitutes a move that is a win for them and a win for downtown Buffalo as well.”
We congratulate Phillips Lytle for bringing its premier law firm to the extraordinary location of One Canalside,” said Robert Gioia, ECHDC Chairman. “Gov. Cuomo identifies the waterfront as an economic driver in his strategy for building on Buffalo’s strengths. The vision began with the overwhelming success of the attractions at Canalside and now it is expanding to One Canalside, the historic canals at the former Aud site, HarborCenter, Ohio Street and the Outer Harbor. Phillips Lytle is an important part of the synergy that is rapidly turning the waterfront into a place of pride for both businesses and the residents of Western New York.”
The opportunity to build-from-scratch allowed Phillips Lytle to promote overall functional efficiency and attorney collaboration. The 128 attorney offices are designed for increased work efficiencies and are ergonomically designed.
The 85,000-square-foot law office also features 13 conference rooms, up from 10 in the firm’s former Seneca One Tower location. The new headquarters also boasts 10 rooms with state-of-the-art video conferencing, up from two in the prior location. There are also three gathering areas and eight new collaboration rooms that will aid communication and teamwork across various functions in the firm.
The brand new Phillips Lytle office also has a dedicated training and expanded, technology-enabled mock courtroom.
“It was one thing to work with our project partners to put our dream office on paper, but I can’t fully describe the thrill of watching those plans become a physical reality. We are really proud of what we have created, and will be reminded of how fortunate we are to be located in this community each and every time we walk through our office doors,” Mr. McNamara said.
“This marks an important day in Buffalo,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown of Phillips Lytle’s new office space at the $30 million One Canalside facility. “Today’s ribbon cutting is another sign of progress in the Canalside area, where over $500 million in economic development activity is underway, including the $175 million HarborCenter project that stems from my plan to transform a surface parking lot into a job-producing investment. As Canalside continues to grow and succeed, we expect it to spur even more investment and job growth.”
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz noted Phillips Lytle’s nearly two century tie to Buffalo’s lower Main Street.
“As Phillips Lytle moves nearly 300 employees into new space at One Canalside, it is fitting to note their history and continuing commitment to our community. I also note that this new, state-of-the-art building is a triumph in itself, as the Donovan State Office Building has been adaptively transformed into an efficient and contemporary site for business, as well as a cornerstone for the revitalized Canalside district. I welcome Phillips Lytle to their new home with best wishes for many years of productivity ahead,” Mr. Poloncarz said.
With lower Main Street roots tracing back to the solo practice of Orsamus H. Marshall, which opened in 1834, Phillips Lytle drew from its heritage and Buffalo’s history in setting the decorating themes and names for its conference rooms.
As it moves to its new home, Phillips Lytle has made great efforts to reduce its environmental impact. In preparation for the move, the firm recycled over 221 tons of paper, digitized 1.6 million pages of documents, and eliminated significant storage and filing space. As a “paper lite” office, the firm expects to drop its annual paper consumption by at least 20 percent through a number of technology-aided conservation methods.