As Kaleida Health finalizes its schedule for moving Women and Children's Hospital to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, speculation is building concerning what will happen to the site of the current complex on Bryant Street.
Last night, the topic was at the center of a public meeting in the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. Among those on hand was Tom Yots, Executive Director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara.
"The neighborhood that's surrounding this complex of buildings, that's a pretty historic neighborhood. We want to be able to assist this process so that we can be sure that the historic resources that are there, that the historic fabric that's there, will be respected," Yots said.
"Residents have been involved in the process so far. Kaleida has called another meeting to take place at the end of the month," Elmwood Village Association Executive Director Carly Battin said. "We probably will call our own meetings to gather community input in the process, as well."
Kaleida officials say there will be more public meetings on re-use of the site. After Kaleida closed Millard Fillmore Hospital, it came to a deal to turn the complex on Gates Circle into a veterinary school and animal health center.
Veteran adaptive re-use architect Clinton Brown says there are opportunities for the neighborhood in the shift.
"While there will be the loss of many high-paying jobs, on the other hand there could be, if it's residential, the influx of new customers," Brown said. "But, maybe if this is a residential community, market-rate apartments, there will be new customers to replace those jobs that go elsewhere"
Kaleida is expected to hire a real estate expert to take an in-depth look at the hospital, including issues related to asbestos, lead paint, and the structural condition of the interlinked buildings.
The move is expected to take place in early 2016.