Preliminary Work Starts on Revised Medical Campus Building

Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation’s planned medical office building at 1001 Main Street has a new design and new name: Conventus, Latin for ‘coming together.’  Remedial work on the now surface parking lot is getting underway at the Main and High property.  The $98 million building will front Main Street and will be adjacent to the planned Women and Children’s Hospital and across from the proposed UB Medical School. 

Current plans call for a 300,000 sq.ft. building with two levels of underground parking and some retail space on the ground floor.  The developer has decided against adding an extended stay or all-suites hotel component to the project but hasn’t ruled out constructing a larger building if tenant demand warrants.  Women and Children’s Hospital outpatient surgery center and UBMD, a physicians group associated with the University at Buffalo, are anchoring the project.

conventus1.jpgconventus2.jpgTop: High Street elevation.  Botttom: Main Street.

“The building itself has evolved some and now has more metal panel on the exterior than the original version which had more glass,” says Timothy Vaeth, Vice President of Development at Ciminelli.  “This is a result of interior programming which warrants less glazing and more private interior space. We have also added a green roof to the project.”

Overhead walkways will connect the building to the proposed UB Medical School on the south side of High Street as well as to the UB RIA building across Goodrich Street.  It will also connect to the planned Women and Children’s Hospital to the east.  Kideney Architects is designing the building. 

The building is expected to be open in 2015 and will be the largest  privately-developed building in the medical campus as well as one of the largest single buildings undertaken by Ciminelli.

Get Connected: Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation, 716.631.8000

About the author  ⁄ jlb716

50 comments
whatever
whatever

Huh, hamp? How can what laws say and what the 1st amendment says ever be 'really beside the point' for PUBLIC (capitalizing it as you did previously) government contracts?

hamp>"I don't know what the law says. And it's really beside the point."

For entirely privately held business projects choosing architects, it could be legally fine to take into account the architects' political speech & political associations by comparing it to what the funder feels is ethical.

However, our govts are required constitutionally to respect very broad freedoms of political speech and association.

'… It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the 'liberty' assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech. . . .

Of course, it is immaterial whether the beliefs sought to be advanced by association pertain to political, economic, religious or cultural matters, and state action which may have the effect of curtailing the freedom to associate is subject to the closest scrutiny. ...'

Clearly it would be curtailing of political freedom for govt contract awards to have litmus tests of which political views an eligible contractor can or can't express, or in which political parties it is or isn't acceptable to have leadership, etc.

You're free to wish that freedom was more limited or advocate for amending the constitution ... but with how things are now, this explains why Cimineli, Kideney, Paladino, etc can't be legally blacklisted for that reason by govts in Buffalo even for govt-funded medical buildings

(- and why likewise, your business also couldn't legally be blacklisted for that reason by state or local govts in parts of the U.S. where any of your political speech or associations might be despised by a majority there).

hamp
hamp

I don't know what the law says. And it's really beside the point. Architects, like other licensed professionals should meet a high standard of ethical behavior, and they should do more than just "obey the law".

I don't think it's ethical to run a firm and simultaneously work to repeal equal marriage rights and Roe vs Wade.

I don't see these issues as "liberal" or "conservative". It's a question of fairness and doing what's right.

ClassicView
ClassicView

Help! Can some one help explain this building? Is this supposed to represent some type of architecture? I don't know architecture, but I know this building looks horrendous.

whatever
whatever

hamp, this what you claimed is clearly the opposite of true, constitutionally, for free speech and political advocacy:

hamp>"When the owner of a firm is actively involved with overturning decisions that deny equal rights to women and gay persons, then that crosses a line that should disqualify the firm from PUBLIC work."

As long as the 'actively involved with' obeys the law, then the same legal rights for eligibility of PUBLIC contracts would also apply for those who speak and advocate unpopular political views of even say Marxism, Nazism, Sharia Law, PETA, Branch Dividianism, … and, yes, even for what the local Conservative Party advocates.

People who speak and politically advocate on behalf of views like those have the same full legal rights to receive PUBLIC contracts as do people who hold the more popular mainstream political views.

I wonder, is this really news to you?

Or by 'should', are you calling for a new constitutional amendment which would define which flavors of free speech and political advocacy should be legally discriminated against by govt?

hamp
hamp

You are confusing "social issues" with equality and religious freedom. I don't care if a firm's owner is conservative or liberal. You can be either, and still believe in civil rights and freedom.

When the owner of a firm is actively involved with overturning decisions that deny equal rights to women and gay persons, then that crosses a line that should disqualify the firm from PUBLIC work.

Also, it is inappropriate for the head of a firm to have his religious beliefs guide his ideology (stem cell research), especially when the firm is involved in a building that is supposed to provide state of the art medical care for ALL, and which depends on stem cell research.

The Ciminelli project relies in part on public funding, with its major tenant a quasi-public entity. And the building will literally be connected to the publicly funded UB Medical School.

Would the state or other public entity award a contract to a firm who's owner advocated overturning laws that allow inter-racial marriage? Or a firm that discriminated against women,or wanted to overturn the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote? I don't think so. The Erie County Conservative Party (which includes Board member Thomas Jaeger) supports overturning Rowe vs Wade).

You have conveniently labeled these kinds of issues as "liberal" vs "conservative" when they're not. They're about fairness, and equality.

Finally two points:

1. In my opinion it is extremely hypocritical for Jaeger to take public money to design a building that serves women and children, when he supports policies that devalue both.

2. As someone who has run a small business, I can only imagine how uncomfortable it is to be gay and/or a women working at a firm with a boss that wants to limit your civil rights. In my opinion, this creates a hostile work environment that goes beyond the difference between "liberal" and "conservative" views.

whatever
whatever

hamp - you sound serious when suggesting that before against Ciminelli, now Kideney.

Are you consistent by saying it's ok with you if reverse political tests happened against socially-left-leaning firms in places where public majorities lean socially right?

(say Omaha, Dallas, Nashville, Salt Lake City, ... etc)?

In other words, is your idea that all socially-left-leaning businesses should be blacklisted from medial projects where social politics lean right, while the same happens for socially-right-leaning businesses in places with politics like Buffalo's?

Say a WNY architect firm bids on a project in a metro where leaders have different social issue politics than the firm's.

You're saying it's ok for the WNY firm to be told "You aren't eligible here because we disagree with you on partial birth abortion and English as official language."?

For sure if any govt did that, it would violate the 1st amendment which protects political activity as free speech.

(like if Paladino ever was told he can't win a govt project because he's anti-abortion, he'd win a 1st amendment lawsuit very easily)

I'm pretty sure other laws extend such protections to private projects which use any govt funding, as perhaps this medical building in Buffalo does.

If so, your idea would be illegal for this building. Maybe a 100% privately funded project could do what you suggest - I'm not sure.

But legalities aside, am I interpreting your suggestion correctly?

Would you really support state or local govts doing that in any direction they prefer (if it wasn't so illegal)?

hamp
hamp

Buildings facing Main Street should have retail/commercial space at the first floor.

That makes streets active, and that's how you revitalize cities.

davvid
davvid

Its hard to tell if its the rendering style that makes it look so dull. Its like all of the transparency and reflectivity was just deleted, even from the glass.

It doesn't look very good. It wouldn't even be hard to find a firm that could do this well, the powers that be just need to look beyond the same circle of WNY architects. Let the brutally honest comments flow, it seems like they could use some feedback at Kideney.

Rand503
Rand503

IT's looks like a cartoon from the Power Puff Girls.

NC
NC

I am pretty sure more time was spent on the GVI renderings than the actual design of this building. There is ZERO comparison.

hamp
hamp

They want to work with their friends at Kideney, run by Erie County Conservative Party Board member Thomas Jaeger.

Included in the local Conservative Party's goals for 2012:

Overturning same sex marriage in New York

Limiting stem cell research to the use of only adult stem cells

Limiting access to abortion

Making English the official U.S. language

Never mind the banal design. Is this the kind of firm that should be designing a medical building for women and children???

bradman
bradman

I feel like this building will be a bit like the Gates Vascular Institute and look better once it's actually constructed vs. the renderings. Many people criticized that building when they saw the renderings and now it's one of most people's favorites. The original renderings were done at night, so the building looked more glowing and dramatic. This rendering is done under plain daylight with no reflections from the glass panels; everything is very matte and dull. I'd like to see a nighttime rendering done with the same lighting as the original one for a better comparison.

impressingagent
impressingagent

Since they are going for the look, why not hire the team that designed the bioinformatics building.

saltecks
saltecks

There is a Doubletree hotel on North St. Across from Buffalo General.

newskylinebuffalo
newskylinebuffalo

It looks very stark, I just don't get why they scrapped the hotel portion. This could very well be the most important location for hotel development. I can't think of anywhere in WNY that has a higher (and growing) demand for hotels than right here in the burgeoning Medical Campus.

grad94
grad94

that's right! our duty is to promptly cheerlead for everything new and suspend all critical thought! get with the program, people.

townline
townline

You got me. I'm not into blondes though...

BuffaloEmigrant
BuffaloEmigrant

NOOO!!! It's much easier to sit on my Mac at the co-op and whine about how terrible and clueless designers are while having no experience or ideas myself! Downvotes to you sir!

ccbuffalo
ccbuffalo

i have never seen so many people complain on buff rising. submit your designs people, and hush !!

ByronBrownsTie
ByronBrownsTie

Hahaha -- I'm dying over here. I love how seriously the people on here take this blog. Townline above all -- [deleted]

Classic.

Texpat
Texpat

The original design is so much better. Please fix it before it is too late, and this is coming from a huge fan of modernism. This is a neo-brutalist building we'll regret in 10 years tops, but will have for a lifetime.

saltecks
saltecks

The first time I saw the new renderings it was like WTF!!

But after a second look, I find myself 'starting' to appreciate the new design. Who knows by day 4 I may really like it.

FTheRedTape
FTheRedTape

Please accept my sincere apology for the extra c in deco. Daddy drinks a lot of coffee in the morning and gets a little jumpy on the keyboard.

nyc
nyc

Simplifying the facade would go a long way. It does not look as if the architects knew when to put the pencil down.

buffaloroam
buffaloroam

I wanna know what art french decco is and if its good I will like it.

BuffaloEmigrant
BuffaloEmigrant

I'd rather focus on, you know, the road in front of me, so I don't cause an accident.

300miles
300miles

based on the renderings, I think you're right. Disappointing. It's very misleading for them to list "first-floor retail" on a Main St building if that retail is only on the interior (and limited to just a pharmacy too)

FTheRedTape
FTheRedTape

Yowsas. Someone had piss in his/her Cheerios this morning. I hope Santa or Hanukkah Harry, depending on your belief, brings you a sense of humor this holiday season.

townline
townline

You're a moron. Most people here seem to have really liked the original, very contemporary design for this building.

FTheRedTape
FTheRedTape

Buffalo Rising: if it's not Art/French Decco, we hate it!

5to81ALLDAY
5to81ALLDAY

What a terrible new design. So "Blaahhhh"

When can we have a new build that when you drive by it, you look back in your blindspot to look at it again bc it's so nice?

flyguy
flyguy

I agree that some views of this are very reminiscent of 60's and 1970's style. Its nice to have a wide array of architectural styles in a city to represent different eras but I think many would agree this era has moved on. Intead of such a cold enclosed fortress feel I wonder if there could be lessons learned from the federal courthouse where much of that facade is actually enclosed and not transparent as well BUT they skinned the surface with reflective glass, albeit sometimes too transparent reflective glass but you get the idea. So, why not leave the box if thats what the market needs, but add some glass skin over top to reduce the heavy handed metal skin? The Bioinformatics building and Hauptmann Woodward are already there. I dont think other buildings have to look like them as well. Just thoughts, not pulling my hair out here.

JSmith
JSmith

There is still going to be first-floor retail, but probably interior to the building, like most hospital coffee stands and gift shops. I doubt there was ever a plan for street-facing storefronts, even in the original design.

Which is a big disappointment and missed opportunity, yes.

bobbyraz49
bobbyraz49

What would that be ?

Not being sarcastic...just want to know.

Thanks and Merry Christmas to all !!

buffaloroam
buffaloroam

Holy Sh!$ that looks horrible. I hope they do something to fix it before it gets built. It's great that it is getting built but that really is an important corner why would we settle for such an ugly design at the cornerstone of the Medical Campus right on Main ST.

LouisTully
LouisTully

Indeed.

Scott Croce's project on Delaware/Virginia looks like it's moving along btw.

elmdog
elmdog

They should just concrete the whole Main Street side, just like Smart Pill and Lifetime health buildings...Oh, Smart Pill is leaving town(forgot about that)......but the building are still awful and totally cut off main street....This building will do the same..

Buffaloian
Buffaloian

Quite honestly it looks like [deleted]. They can build hotels, apartments and condo towers with glass curtain walls and this is the best they can do?

elmdog
elmdog

awful....maybe it should match a bit with the new Medical school at the least.....

Lego1981
Lego1981

What happend to that really cool design? The one with first floor retail spaces? How will we ever make Main Street vibrant again with no activity built for it?

Tim
Tim

Bring in some Dutch architects. I'm sure they can meet the awkward needs of the clients and make it attractive at the same time.

Move Along Plz
Move Along Plz

How about everyone quits being so damn picky, and appreciate the fact that some thing is sctually being built to replace a parking lot! Any building is better than no building! And I don't feel it looks bad at all. Part of a city advancing involves advancing its building designs.

hamp
hamp

Looks like the Bioinformatics Center crashed into the original design.

Just wish it looked like the kind of place you'd want to take sick children.

TheRealBuffaloBill
TheRealBuffaloBill

It is kind of 'cold-war-ish' but I'm not a good judge of modern architecture, they all just look like boxes someone drew, with some radius, and then toss awkward extra boxes on it.

townline
townline

Yikes. The interior programming really had to screw up the design that bad? This went from a pretty attractive contemporary building to a sheet metal mess. Metal cladding can be a nice accent on a building, but its pretty rarely attractive as a dominant material - its just cold and unfriendly. As these buildings age, they won't be much different from how we look at some of the awful cement bunkers we built in the 60s and 70s.

sin|ill
sin|ill

Ugh. What happened to it?!

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