The first phase of the Richardson Olmsted Complex reuse effort kicked off in Buffalo Friday. The $69 million project will consist of an 88 room hotel, a 300-plus seat conference and event center, and the Buffalo Architecture Center when complete.
The two year construction period will begin with exterior work on windows, roofing, and the replacement of the north entry. Monica Pellegrino Faix says the effort has taken ten years to come to fruition.
“This is a very specific built structure that we’re trying to make from a hospital into a hospitality project. We’ll have a very small replacement of the addition to the north with a glass entry. When people come up they will recognize the building, but it will just look cleaner, neater and smiling,” said Pellegrino Faix.
New York State contributed $54 million to the redevelopment of the long-vacant facility and the other $15 million came from historic preservation tax incentives. Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy says the facility will provide an economic boost to the region.
“When you make an investment like this it creates a sense of confidence in the whole area around it. You’ll see other investors come in who will now feel that if this is happening at this great building then I’ll invest nextdoor or down the street,” said Duffy.
The project will create more than 500 construction jobs and nearly 75 full time jobs upon opening. Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler says the facility will add another layer to the tourism destinations offered locally.
“One of the hooks that we can use when we are marketing and promoting this new destination within our destination is to talk about the history of the building, to talk about this history of the architecture, and why it’s significantly important to buffalo, and then how that parleys into a new story about the reuse and the change in the use of the building,” said Kaler.
Kaler says interest in the building as a hotel and event center is already starting to take shape on social media. He says that curiosity will only benefit western New York tourism as a whole.
The hotel and conference center is expected open to in Fall 2016.