Richardson Olmsted Complex to Become Hotel & Conference Center

January 25, 2013 Updated Jan 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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January 25, 2013 Updated Jan 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) For several decades, the Richardson Olmsted Complex on Forest Avenue in the City of Buffalo has sat vacant.

Built in the late 1800's, it was considered a state-of-the-art facility when it opened as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane.

Starting in the 1970's, the facility was gradually abandoned causing deterioration to several buildings.

"For too long, this building has been a symbol of decay," added New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan.

Over the past seven years, a non-profit group named the "Richardson Center Corporation" has fought to save the complex.

They were successful in getting funds to help stabilize and repair parts of the 19th century buildings, to keep them from collapsing.

The Richardson Olmsted Complex is a National Historic Landmark, and with its iconic twin gothic-style towers, its also one of the most recognizable structures in Buffalo.

Friday morning, Lt. Governor Robert Duffy was in Buffalo to announce the first phase of re-development of the Richardson Olmsted Complex.

$56.4 million dollars in state funding and tax credits will help a public-private partnership renovate the Richardson Towers Administration building and two adjacent wards.

When completed at the end of 2015, the Complex will have a new 90-room boutique hotel, event and conference space, and it will house the Buffalo Architecture Center.

The project is expected to create 500 construction jobs and 70 to 90 full-time jobs.