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M&T Bank plans to hire hundreds as it staffs a new Buffalo tech center

M&T Bank has invested more than $100 million and plans to go on a hiring binge to bring technologists to Buffalo.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — M&T Bank's newest tech center is part of a multimillion dollar investment in downtown Buffalo that is helping recruit young techies looking for good-paying jobs and an equally good quality of life.

"So we've invested more than $100 million in downtown Buffalo in the last three years. You don't invest that kind of money without believing in that area," M&T Bank Senior Executive VP for Corporate Services Keith Belanger told 2 On Your Side.

Bank executives gave 2 On Your Side an exclusive look at the center, which just opened at Lafayette Court on Main Street. It was designed with the intention of creating a large space with a lot of colors and a lot of light.

"This is such an accomplishment and such an achievement to see this space come alive," said M&T Bank Technology Director Dawn Kopacz. She pointed out that it looks more like Silicon Valley than downtown Buffalo.

The new center cost $24 million to build, according to M&T's Mike Wisler. It will employ technologists, data scientists, analysts, product owners, designers, "basically all the skills it takes to innovate quickly, make products for our customers, respond to our customer's needs."

The bank is building a tech innovation corridor along Buffalo's main street that stretches from the city's tallest tower to Lafayette Court.  Belanger says the multi-million dollar investment in Buffalo is a bargain compared to other cities. "For us to build out this space, it cost us about 60 percent of what it would cost in one of those major markets. Our rent is maybe a quarter of what you'd pay in those other markets," he said.

For instance, occupancy expense per worker per year in Buffalo is about $4,000. It's $25,000 in Boston and $50,000 in New York.

"This is a great place to house, you know, the talent that you attract," Belanger said.

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