Kaleida Selects Veterinary School to Fill Gates Site
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Kaleida Health's board of directors have made a decision on what will take over the Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital site. A veterinary school proposal was chosen as the winning plan to take over the hospital that closed earlier this year.
Chason Affinity has a $55 million plan to turn the main hospital building into classrooms and support services for the veterinary school.
“Chason Affinity’s proposal is visionary, is a good reuse of the hospital and can bring tremendous economic impact to our community,” said James R. Kaskie, president and CEO of Kaleida Health. “While there is much work still to be done by the developer, we are very excited for the community about this unique opportunity.”
Chason Affinity proposes a green design as an extension of the Frederick Law Olmsted parkway system. This includes:
· Using the main hospital building as a veterinary teaching hospital with classrooms and support services.
· Removing "nonessential" buildings to create park and pedestrian friendly areas throughout the campus.
· Excavating the original 1911 Homeopathic Hospital building to renovate as an on-campus residence.
· Adding translucent additions to the brick tower building - a ground level addition facing Gates Circle, an atrium in the center of the campus, and a 10th floor glass walled enclosure – that will increase the transparency of the complex and its relation to the surrounding neighborhoods.
“This is a great day, not just for Buffalo, but for all of New York,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “This initiative will help strengthen Buffalo’s economy while preserving its rich history and making New York a leader in addressing a nationwide shortage of veterinarians. I commend Kaleida Health and Chason Affinity for their hard work on this critically important project for our future.”
Lt. Governor Robert Duffy attended the announcement and spoke on Governor Cuomo’s behalf.
“The rich talent and diversity of a veterinary school brings enormous benefits and spin-offs for a community,” said Mark Chason, president of Chason Affinity. “Over 50% of America's pets receive no regular veterinary care, so there continues to be a need for veterinarians. As Baby Boomer veterinarians retire, this need will only grow.”
Chason said his research shows that the Northeast United States (including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York) has 56 million people, and a proportionate number of America's 180 million pets, but only three smaller veterinary schools: Penn, Cornell and Tufts.
A project advisory committee led by former Kaleida Health Board Chair Edward F. (Ted) Walsh Jr. has been working for the past 18 months to promote communication between the community and the hospital reuse process. The committee includes neighbors, block club leaders, local business leaders, planners, community activists and other interested parties.
“When all the factors are added up, the evidence was overwhelmingly in favor of the Chason proposal, realities that both the selection jury and the Kaleida Health board were happy to recognize,” said Walsh.
In June, Kaleida Health held a community forum to unveil submissions to the “Hospital Reuse Design/Development Competition” for the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital. The event included a presentation and exhibits from the two competitors who submitted qualified proposals for the Gates Circle site, Chason Affinity and Uniland Development.
Uniland had proposed a mixed use building with apartments, townhouses, retail space and a possible boutique hotel.
Chason Affinity also receives a $1 million prize from Kaleida.
Kaleida is consolidating facilities into the new Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.