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.
“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.
A 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.
The 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