Kaleida Health's board of directors has selected a proposed veterinary school to be developed at the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital.
Kaleida made the announcement Tuesday afternoon. The $65 million plan proposed by local developer Chason Affinity was chosen over a proposal for a mixed use complex from Uniland Development that including a hotel and residential, office, and retail space.
The developers plan a complex mostly using existing buildings with students in the building working on vet degrees in no more than five years and possibly fewer. The former Homeopathic Hospital building would be turned into a campus residence.
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy praised the idea as a new way to create highly-paid jobs. Howard Zemsky, co-chairman of Governor Cuomo's regional economic development council, said the plan builds on the array of local colleges and universities.
Kaleida President and CEO James Kaskie says it's now up to the community to make it work.
"We, as a community, need to come together to make this happen. We do have schools that are interested. We need to demonstrate the enthusiasm and the opportunity of creating a school here on this campus and really making this a vital part of our future," Kaskie said.
Kaleida is awarding $1 million dollars to Chason as the winning developer.
Project sponsors say there is significant demand in this country and abroad for veterinarian training as baby boomer vets retire. They say the school could work well with local colleges with animal programs and with medical researchers.
Kaleida consolidated and closed down the 900,000 square-foot hospital in March and opened the new Gates Vascular Institute in May in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.