Research and 'More' in the Medical Campus
Scientists are not the only ones doing research in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Thereâ€™s a lot of studying going on too. By developers. Yet another building is coming down while a developer â€śstudies optionsâ€ť for the site. Co-owners Ciminelli Development and Kaleida Health are seeking City approval to demolish a 13-story medical office building at 50 High Street.
Across the street, Evergreen Real Estate Properties is also studying options for their shovel-ready site at 23 High Street. Astute readers will recall that the firm demolished the 13-story former German American Brewing Co. building in anticipation of building a new home for Aids Community Services. Those plans fell apart after anticipated funding never materialized and the non-profit agency decided to expand at its current facility on S. Elmwood Avenue. Evergreen, a partnership headed by developer Michael Joseph of Clover Management, is said to be considering various uses for the site.
There wonâ€™t be many tears shed over the loss of 50 High Street from a design perspective. The circa-1965 building has been vacant for approximately ten years as reuse plans have come and gone for the property. Ciminelli and Kaleida Health will use the site for parking until a development plan is formulated. Paul Ciminelli told Business First that the company is â€śconsidering a number of concepts and options depending on talks with a number of different, prospective tenants.â€ť
This isnâ€™t the first time Ciminelli has talked about project in the medical campus, or the second, or third for that matter. In 1990, Ciminelli was working with Dr. Edward Simmons to construct an office building at the corner of East North and Ellicott streets behind the Anchor Bar. Originally anticipated as a five-story building with 70,000 sq.ft., the plan was chopped in half to 31,000 sq.ft. on two floors and eventually scrapped. The site was later developed by the Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center.
The developer later teamed up with Hart Hotels to propose a mixed-use project for the medical campus in 1991. Plans called for a 75 to 100 room hotel, retail space and 100,000 sq.ft. of office space. The proposal never left the drawing board, though a medical inn was constructed at 100 High Street by another developer.
Ciminelli has been working with Kaleida to redevelop the 50 High Street site since 1993. A proposal for a new seven-story building housing offices, retail and medical space was floated in the mid-1990â€™s. Those plans were later reduced to 100,000 to 120,000 sq.ft. of office space in a five-story building. 50 High remains standing.
Kaleida has named Ciminelli preferred developer for the properties stretching along the north side of High Street between Ellicott and Main streets. Keep your fingers crossed that a viable plan emerges for this strategic site.