Ciminelli dropped as developer for Women and Children's Hospital site

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Ciminelli Real Estate is out, Ellicott Development and Sinatra and Company Real Estate are both in as the new designated developers for the soon-to-be-vacant Women and Children's Hospital campus in Buffalo.

The Kaleida Health board of directors has dropped Ciminelli from the project, a year after the company was chosen to redevelop the eight-acre site once the hospital moves to the medical campus in the fall.

"Unfortunately we could not come to terms with Ciminelli and their development team," Kaleida Health Spokesman Michael Hughes said in a statement. "It became clear that, in the best interests of the community - as well as the Elmwood Village neighborhood - that a change was necessary."

Ellicott and Sinatra both submitted competing redevelopment proposals last year before losing out to Ciminelli.

Kaleida says the two companies will now work together on a reuse plan.

Ellicott's original plan called for developing 'The Elmwood Center,' a mix of housing, a hotel, office space and a grocery store.

Sinatra's proposal called for turning the sprawling property into a mix of town homes, apartments, condos, retail and a grocery store.

Revised plans are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Ciminelli Real Estate spokesperson, Anne E. Duggan issued this statement:

“We were extremely disappointed to read today in the Buffalo News, without having previously received any official notice, that Kaleida has decided to pursue other options for the redevelopment of the Women and Children's Hospital site,. Negotiations on the contract had been ongoing, during which time we had been working diligently together- and we thought in good faith - to resolve numerous complex issues that are customary in a project of this size and scope. Contrary to what has been published, Ciminelli did execute the contract as prepared by Kaleida's attorneys. Relying on Kaleida's good faith, we made a significant investment in this project, including active engagement with architects, engineers and other consultants, in preparation for closing and quick commencement of our redevelopment of the project. Notwithstanding what Kaleida told the Buffalo News, our project has not changed dramatically since we first proposed it. There were iterations involving the improvement of traffic flow, adding residential units, and creating neighborhood friendly retail, and those were all made based on excellent feedback received from Kaleida's Project Advisory Committee. We signed the contract as proposed and drafted by Kaleida's attorneys, a contract that reflects a project in accordance with our response to the request for proposals. Kaleida, however, refused to sign its own contract and, instead, elected to negotiate with other developers without our knowledge. Given our company's longstanding relationship with the Kaleida system, we are disappointed with, and surprised by, this decision to terminate our development agreement.”

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