Shea's Seneca Theater


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Photo credit: Preservation Studios, Buffalo News, David Steele, Buffalo Rising


2178 Seneca Street, Buffalo, NY 14210
Google Bird's Eye View
South Council District
SBL: 133.26-1-14.1
Erie County Property Info
County Tax Map (loads GIS page)
City of Buffalo Parcel Viewer
Corner of Seneca and Cazenovia, South Buffalo.


SHEA'S SENECA LLC per City of Buffalo Property Information
NYS Corporation and Business Entity Database

Physical Description

  • Eeleven bays wide by ten bays deep, Shea’s Seneca is Neoclassical Revival in style, two stories in height, and L-shaped with a brick and steel structure. Storefronts occupy the ground floor and offices originally occupied the second floor. Preservation Studios
  • 2,500 seat theatre with 48,000 sq.ft. commercial structure, including its white terracotta façade, ticket vestibule, and ornate plaster castings adorning the 2 ½ – story barrel vaulted-ceiling lobby. Buffalo Rising

Current Condition

Seating portion was demolished; commercial portion undergoing renovation into apartments and commercial space


  • 1929 - Theater designed by William and Henry Spann, and built for Michael Shea, a local theater magnate.
    • "The storefront spaces have continued to be active throughout most of the building’s history. The second floor has been used variously as offices, a bowling alley, and, most recently, a nightclub." Preservation Studios
  • 1970 - The 2500 seat portion of the theater was demolished

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • August 2016 - SHEA'S SENECA LLC purchases the building from Dorothy Dweck.
  • November 2016 - Developer Jake Schneider announced plans to convert the building into apartments, a theater and commercial spaces. This will be a $9 million redevelopment project (Buffalo Rising, March 2017).
  • November 2017 - "The Governor’s office announced that Shea’s Seneca Building at 2178 Seneca Street and 20 other places across the state are being recommended to be added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places by the New York State Board for Historic Preservation." Buffalo Rising
  • Swiatek Studios is performing the plaster and glass restoration. Preservation Studios has prepared the Landmark registration and research.

Other Pertinent Facts


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Added 2013-01-08 • Last changed 2018-03-29