Phase One of Richardson Complex Reuse to Include Boutique Hotel

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Richardson Center Corporation (RCC) today announced the first phase of redevelopment of the Richardson Olmsted Complex. The state support for the redevelopment of the 19th century complex will leverage private investment and create over 500 construction jobs and up to 90 permanent full-time jobs.

The iconic Towers Administration Building and two adjacent ward buildings – about one-third of the 480,000 square foot, 140 year old complex – will be recreated as a boutique hotel, event and conference space and Buffalo Architecture Center. Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy announced an architect team, hotel operator and construction manager that will undertake the transformation of this iconic landmark today at a press conference.

richardsonphaseone.bmp“As one of the largest public-private economic development projects in the region, the redevelopment of the Richardson Olmsted Complex will create hundreds of construction and permanent jobs and provide significant annual economic benefits,” said Governor Cuomo. “This first phase will transform the former Buffalo State Hospital from a place of healing to one of hospitality and serve as a real asset in the State’s upstate tourism marketing efforts.”

“We are excited to transition from years of thorough planning to a more active stage of rehabilitation, reuse and construction,” said Richardson Center Corporation Chairman Stan Lipsey. “The Richardson Olmsted Complex will play a vital role in continuing the impressive growth of our regions cultural tourism business, while simultaneously offering the market a unique and compelling hospitality product.”

The architect team of Buffalo-based Flynn Battaglia Architects, along with Deborah Berke Partners and Goody Clancy, has been selected to design the boutique hotel, event and conference space and architecture center, and LP Ciminelli has been selected as the construction manager. INNVest Lodging, also headquartered in Buffalo, has been selected as the preferred operator of the boutique hotel and event and conference space.

The $56.4 million renovation is a three year project, comprised of an eight month design phase, eight month construction document production and bidding phase, and a 20 month construction phase. The project is funded with $37.4 million in State funds and $19 million in Historic and New Market Tax Credits. In addition, Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) approved grants for preconstruction, stabilization and re-greening activities. In total, this project is assisted by $64 million in State funding. This first phase is estimated to create 545 construction jobs and a $24.4 million payroll. Once completed, the project will create approximately 75 to 90 permanent full time jobs with an annual payroll of $2.7 million.

 

southlawn.jpgA key component of the redevelopment plan is “re-greening” of the Complex landscape. Work on the South Lawn, along Forest Avenue, will be completed this summer for a welcoming public space that will showcase sustainable design, including narrative plantings and rain gardens for storm water drainage. More than 125 trees will be planted, creating open and canopied spaces for gathering and recreation. The design builds upon Olmsted’s original intent while conserving existing resources, preserving the fabric of the space, and creating connections and purpose. A new second entry with a roadway and landscape improvements will be created on the north side of the complex.

These re-greening actions are the culmination of a thorough preservation planning process which began in 2006. This process included an Urban Land Institute (ULI) advisory panel, Historic Structures Report, Cultural Landscape Report, Master Plan and an approved Generic Environmental Impact Statement. These reports are all available at www.richardson-olmsted.com. Public input gathered through a Community Advisory Group and nine public meetings helped to create a strong and widely accepted reuse plan. In addition, $10 million in stabilization activities took place to prevent further deterioration and vandalism.

RichardsonSouthlawnhandoutFINALImageOnly-1.jpgThe South Lawn design was completed by Andropogon Associates of Philadelphia, PA, a firm internationally recognized for ecologically-based landscape architecture. The plan integrates changes recommended by the public and by the Richardson Olmsted Complex Community Advisory Group.

INNVest Lodging Founder Dennis P. Murphy said, “We plan to incorporate our accumulated experiences to bring the Richardson Olmsted Complex a vibrant life for the Buffalo/Niagara Region. We are determined the hotel generates visitors and guests beyond Buffalo to experience our Region. This is larger than a hotel development, we see this as a community jewel, for the Nation to experience and it happens to be in Buffalo, New York.”

INNVest Lodging Services understands, and has notoriety with, historical landmarks and the Buffalo/Niagara Region hotel landscape. In 2001, INNVest Lodging returned to life and brought national acclaim to a long- dormant historic landmark in Buffalo, New York known as The Mansion on Delaware Avenue. Over the last 23 years, INNVest Lodging, through its associates, has developed a portfolio of successful hotel operations from California to Texas and Washington to Michigan. In addition to national success, the Company has demonstrated expertise in Luxury hotel, Conference Center and global-branded hotel franchise operations. Headquartered in Buffalo, New York, the Hotel Company is devoted to restoring unproductive and tattered historical structures into meaningful community assets.

Entry Image by Preservation Nation

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37 comments
Queen City Studio
Queen City Studio

This is fantastic, will hopefully lead to the improvement of the blocks that border Forest as well.

ShiftySixx
ShiftySixx

"i hate to say it but Do people staying in a AAA hotel really want to see this going on next door or be reminded of the hotels previous use? For their own health the people in the psych center deserve to be with the rest of the unfortunatly sick people in the are and not be singled out."

See what going on? What do you think they do to treat the mentally ill now? They aren't drilling holes in their head and beating them. If that's your belief on the mental ill I guess everyone with cancer and diabetes should be sequestered into their own "pens" so they aren't "singled out" either...idiot.

Tim
Tim

Unless the particular mentally ill individual shows all the signs of a future mass murderer. Then it would be great if we could have them forcibly committed again.

paulsobo
paulsobo

Actually a reactivated Beltline would run within walking distance to the Richardson.

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

Agree with you on the Strozzi Building. However, those grounds immediately west of the Strozzi now belong to the Richardson Center Corp. and once the South Lawn is completed this summer, the public will have full access to that area south of the main entrance within the access roads.

Let's not forget, we lost three of Richardson's brick constructed ward buildings from his original design to demolition in 1968. The Strozzi Building was built in 1962-1965. The Richardson complex was fully intact when the Strozzi Building was operational. It was the impending construction of the Rehabilition buildings (Butler Rehab Center) in 1969-1970 north of the Strozzi that precipitated the demolition of the three ward buildings.

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

... certain activities as innocent as taking a photograph are forbidden.

I have walked the grounds a few times in the past two years without the guards or anyone else ever questioning my presence or forbidding me from taking photographs. I have seen others take photographs, too, without any problem.

fill
fill

I truly do not see how this project can succeed without the removal of the Strozzi Bldg. Not only is it architecturally incompatible with the Richardson buildings but certain activities as innocent as taking a photograph are forbidden. I once had a visitor from NYC who was about to photograph the central tower when a guard rushed over to inform us that photographs are forbidden on the grounds. I agree with those who would like to see the psychiatric hospital removed to the grounds of ECMC. The hospital already has a psychiatric floor and it would seem that a psychiatric hospital there would be an excellent fit. The County Home and Infirmary just moved there; why not add the psychiatric hospital ?

buffloonitick
buffloonitick

i spent some time in that building and was diagnosed w/ richardson olmstead complex...

buffloonitick
buffloonitick

christianity has used itself as a weapon very well over the centuries. it doesn't need any assistance.

buffloonitick
buffloonitick

surprised he didn't opine on how light rail could cure mental illness and how it would be a win-win.

Rand503
Rand503

If you dont' embrace people with mental issues, you'll find you are pretty darn lonely.

ReginaldQMerriweatherIV
ReginaldQMerriweatherIV

These unfortunate people are disrupting my material enjoyment of the building in which they were once caged, I mean cured.

It offends the senses. Remove them at once.

NorthBuf
NorthBuf

Let's put the crazies in the west side at ecmc so the fancy and rich elmwood people (and really the buffalolonains that matter) don't need to see them. The psych center could then be made into something worthy of elmwood

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Instead of demonizing mental illness, why don't we embrace that it is part of our society and work to accept it--stop treating these people like pariahs.

In fact, I would love NOTHING more than to see some rooms dedicated to an authentic, turn-of-the-last-century hospital, so that we could see what it truly looked like. The Richardson was, actually, incredibly pioneering in much of its treatment of patients.

joedotts
joedotts

tom brady will be happy because now he can no longer complain about the hotels in buffalo.... this is what i meant and its god damn hilarious, yet awesome.

but i am so thankful this is project is going forward. yes im sure people will bring about the complaint of how many new hotels does buffalo need, and who would want to stay in an old psych ward, but this is different. this could be a national draw, something incredibly unique and awesome... if done right. i dont want the crazy decoration of the mansion or the modernism of hotel Lafayette. this needs to be a AAA classy space. a castle. i mean, why not? hotel Lafayette is amazing, the entrance and the feeling you get when you walk in is something out of 1910, but from what i see the hotel rooms are not, other than the awesome murals of old buffalo.

i 100% agree with moving the current psych center. i hate to say it but Do people staying in a AAA hotel really want to see this going on next door or be reminded of the hotels previous use? For their own health the people in the psych center deserve to be with the rest of the unfortunatly sick people in the are and not be singled out.

ForestBird
ForestBird

A firm was hired to research the history of the grounds, and they did a very thorough job. Unfortunately, they were pushed aside for the renewal. This new firm is not known for its historical sensitivity, so claims that they are following Olmstedian sensibilites are questionable.

That said, at least SOMETHING is being done with this place, which my neighbors & I have been watching fall apart for a lifetime. Some pleasant park space, within walking distance, will be welcomed.

joedotts
joedotts

just be happy the development is happening. Hell, Tom Brady would be happy.......................

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

How about all the credit. Because right after the $100 million was allocated the State started having serious budget problems and money expenditures were essentially frozen. Then along came Spitzer. Pataki allocated that money in 2006 the year he left office.

Your right about the lawsuits initiated over the dilapidated conditions at the complex that the State of NY was required to maintain. As a result of that, in 2004-2005 the Governor allocated $5 million to repair and stabilize the structures. Which ultimately led to the pot of gold in 2006.

That being said Pataki did not have to provide any more money than the $5 million, and he did Buffalo a huge favor by pushing the golden parachute $100 million through the legislature and into the complex's fund. To this day, the State would never have provided those funds and this project would be dead. Pataki provided the money.

Rand503
Rand503

I'm not sure how much credit should be given, since it required a lawsuit to force the state to release the funds that it had allocated to the stabilization of the buildings.

pampiniform
pampiniform

Well, the fact is that the Psychiatric hospital was there first. In any case, nobody is going to pay for them to rebuild it anywhere else. There's no really compelling reason for it to go to the medical campus or ECMC in any case, since a psychiatric hospital is a totally different place than the type of medical center they're trying to build at those places. The patient population is often poor, the care delivered is long term, and there are not a lot a lot of money - generating procedures involved in psychiatry. There's a reason that the state runs the place. And in any case, how do you know that it's inadequate for the patients' needs? Have you ever been in there?

Oh , and it's impressive to see you mention Buff State several times without mentioning Muriel Howard.

buffalorr
buffalorr

Some of these e-mails such as Paulboro's or whatever his name is are hilarious.

I'm sure though, that they're not distracting most of us from the seriousness of the issue's we're commenting on.

Good comic relief.

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

Former Governor George Pataki is the one who deserves the credit for allocating $100 million to the project. $16.5 million was siphoned off that amount to build the Burchfield Penny Art Center in 2006 with $7 million going to the Darwin Martin House, leaving the project with $76.5 million. Approximately $10 million has been used from the remaining fund for emergency repairs and building stabilization for the entire complex.

This summer, the newly restored South Lawn project will be completed allowing public access to the grounds. With the start of the boutique hotel, the project will now be in full swing, and with it fully functional, the remaining ward buildings will become an attractive investment for potential public and private development.

paulsobo
paulsobo

Grad94, there is nothing unchristian about relocating the psychiatric center to ECMC or Life Sciences Campus. These are our new medical and life sciences campuses.

The Buffalo State Campus was once their home but it isnt any longer. Now the site must be redeveloped. The Psychiatric Center is holding that redevelopment back and its holding Buffalo State back and Burchfield Penny.

The Patience suffer because the facility is old, outdated and its nowhere near the medical professional that could provide services to them.

But I guess there are those liberals who will use christianity as a weapon whenever it serves their purposes.

paulsobo
paulsobo

PaulBuffalo, me ... no jewish liberals are far closer to the psychiatric asylum than conservative republican. Infact, I here they started naming kosher rooms just for you.

Rand503
Rand503

And a metro line to service it.

Rand503
Rand503

And a metro line to service it.

grad94
grad94

"...the Buffalo Psychiatric Center on Buffalo State Campus has over stayed its welcome and needs to leave: not tomorrow, not today...but leave yesterday."

you might want to bone up on matthew 25:31-46.

buffalorr
buffalorr

"then replace their 1960's auditorium for their expansion"

I got a good chuckle out of that.

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

... the Buffalo Psychiatric Center on Buffalo State Campus has over stayed its welcome and needs to leave: not tomorrow, not today...but leave yesterday.

If they move closer to you, it would shorten your commute. Good for you.

LouisTully
LouisTully

"I think the demolished wing should be rebuilt"

Of course you do.

paulsobo
paulsobo

I agree...the Buffalo Psychiatric Center on Buffalo State Campus has over stayed its welcome and needs to leave: not tomorrow, not today...but leave yesterday.

They are a much better fit at ECMC or the Life Sciences Campus.

Though, I think the demolished wing should be rebuilt for a true restoration and redevelopment of the Richardson.

Im alittle suprised that a portion of the Richardson will not be used for classrooms but hotel/conference center will serve Buffalo State, D'Youville, Canisius, Medaille, Burchfield-Penny and Albright-Knox and Historical Museum.

Big Positive the A-K can use the Richardson for an auditorium and conference center, then replace their 1960s auditorium for part of their expansion. Althought, I think the A0K is far better just finding a new location for expansion such Humboldt Park, as Canalside, etc.

longgone
longgone

so many typos makes me sad.

Prospero
Prospero

This could be a huge boost to the surrounding neighborhood. Exciting.

longgone
longgone

So who will actually own the building when this is all completed? Will INNVest essentially be leasing the hotel? That would make sense.

Since people seem to like to move around buildings to rebuild neighborhoods, why not move the Buffalo Psychiatric Center to a new campus near ECMC?

You could build out a state of the art facility there and repurpose the Strozzi Building as high end condos or build out even more conference facilities between the building and Elmwood.

With the amount of green space on the site and location, it would be one of these most desirable places to live in the city.

Maybe that is a key for Buffalo? Instead of building a new convention center, you cluster to new conference centers with attached hotels and work the smaller groups. That's a niche market that could be built upon.

If it took off it would add another reason to run some type of rail service to this area. You would have:

2 museums

2 hotels

2 conference centers

1 zoo

1 Olmstead park

etc. etc. etc.

hamp
hamp

This project has great benefits for the city and region.

As far as public funding goes, I think it's a great use of our tax money.

BuffaloBobZ
BuffaloBobZ

This is an excellent use. I understand the complaining thats going to happen below this comment about public fundings, and to be honest, i just dont care.

This has the chance to revitalize a gorgeous building from one of the premiere architects in US history. I couldn't possbily be more excited to see this building going from abandoned and rotting to reused and thriving. Excellent news.

JesusHChrysler
JesusHChrysler

This is wonderful news. An architectural wonder like this deserves to be re-born.

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