ADVERTISEMENT

Plans for a new headquarters for Catholic Health System won an approval in City Hall on Thursday, as did an agreement that will help with the disbursement of federal anti-poverty funds.

The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency agreed to a change of use for vacant land at the foot of the Kensington Expressway, where Catholic Health is planning to build a $46 million, six-story, 140,000-square-foot building.

The headquarters will employ about 700 people, 400 of whom now work in the suburbs, and about 300 who work in other Catholic Health sites in the city. The development also will include a parking deck for 630 vehicles.

The land, at 140 Genesee St., which is between Elm and Oak streets, was going to be used in earlier years for other projects, but none materialized.

The agency’s action Thursday updates a 1987 agreement between the agency and Uniland Development, which provided for the development of industrial, office and research facilities in a minimum of 50,000 square feet with parking for 144 vehicles.

The change in scope of the project is not significant, agency general counsel Scott C. Billman told the agency board.

The Planning Board held a public hearing and reviewed Catholic Health’s plans Wednesday but is waiting to take action until it receives necessary environmental information.

Board members did not raise any specific objections, though they noted concern for the safety of employees who cross the street near the Kensington exit ramp.

Michael A. Longo, director of planning and design at Uniland, told the board that developers are working with the state Department of Transportation on signaling the intersection and other safety measures.

In other business, the agency adopted an agreement with the city that will allow about $13 million in block grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to flow after months of negotiations between the parties, though it’s not clear when that will happen.

A HUD spokesman Thursday just said he thinks the funds will flow “soon.”

The same agreement is expected to be adopted by the Common Council on Tuesday.



email: jterreri@buffnews.com