Buffalo, NY - Buffalo's signature high-rise is now being marketed with the focus on office, residential, and retail. But that third element-- the retail-- is increasingly important for the renovation of the One Seneca Tower.

Now a city panel has given thumbs up for a revised plan for the complex.

The renewed marketing campaign aimed at bringing new tenants to the 38 tower structure and asbestos abatement underway in an annex building on the western end of the complex indicate efforts to move forward for developer Doug Jemal.

Attorney Adam Walters who represents Jemal says: "The building is in great shape so tenants could move in tomorrow...if they desire to do so...so he's marketing the building, but he's also very much focusing on the long term."

Even amidst the swirl of renovation talk, that focus right now is somewhat obscured by urban tumbleweed if you will because the pedestrian mall area around the tower is rather desolate.

And that's why Jemal's development team sought and got Planning Board approval for two new buildings on site. One would be a four story building and the other a one story for mixed use and especially retail.

Architect Elizabeth Fuller points out: "It expanded upon the original design intent to make it a work, play, live atmosphere and by introducing more retail that will allow for more draw to the site."

That concept is perhaps seen in Jemal's suburban Washington project in Bethesda Maryland called The Shops at Wisconsin. It's a four story retail building with a smaller Target store.

In Buffalo, there is not much else on the lower end of Main Street but this idea could bring more...even perhaps pulling in some of the Canalside visitors. Walters says: "I think it's safe to say the developer sees retail as critical for the longer term success of the building and revitalizing that section of Main Street."

They hope to start construction of the smaller buildings near the Tower in the fall with completion next summer and fall.