With a new deal inked to redevelop Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital, Kaleida Health officials are turning their attention once again to another Buffalo hospital property.
Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo is due to be vacated in about two years when the new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital opens on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Kaleida officials want to begin the reuse process a lot sooner for that property, with hopes of preventing the complex from sitting dormant like its Millard Gates sister.
Construction is expected to begin early next year on the new $220 million, 185-bed, 12-story hospital adjacent to Buffalo General Medical Center and the Gates Vascular Institute.
The existing hospital facility lies on Bryant Street between Elmwood and Delaware avenues, with operations in 640,000 square feet split between several buildings, some as old as 120 years old. But James Kaskie, CEO at Kaleida, said there's already been lots of interest in the site.
Kaskie spoke about the Children's reuse process during the announcement this week of Kaleida's selection of T.M. Montante Development and Canterbury Woods to redevelop the Millard Gates site.
"One of the things we thought about is if there's a way to get ahead of ourselves and have this settled as we're moving through the construction at the new Children's," he said. "The RFP process is forthcoming."
Kaleida's project advisory committee has met four times and developed a community values statement plus initiated work on market research and a development request for proposal (RFP). A series of community meetings with neighbors and business owners has also been held.
That's been a bit easier as the neighborhood around Children's is quite different than the one around Gates.
"I think we've learned a lot about the process," said Ted Walsh, the former chairman of the Kaleida board who led the three-year redevelopment process at Millard Gates. "We needed to put this one to bed before we pivot to Children's."
It took three years to complete the process at Gates, including two separate RFP contests. Walsh was confident this time around the decision will stick.
"This phew is the final phew," he said.
Walsh has agreed to help out quietly behind-the-scenes with the effort for Women & Children's, and agreed a residential option with some retail would probably be the best fit for the property, especially with its location in the middle of the Elmwood Village neighborhood.
Additional community meetings are planned moving into 2014.