The new owner of the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital in Buffalo will announce a new identity and focus for the sprawling complex Friday, as it seeks to reposition the hospital for growth as a center of health care services, education and training.
Just three months after taking title to the former urban hospital for $1.7 million, McGuire Development Group will lay out details of its proposal for revitalizing the property. Company executives and other community leaders will unveil their concepts and seek public input at a forum at the facility from 1 to 3 p.m.
The developer envisions the former hospital having a mixture of medical, research and educational components. The project would not only provide jobs but also train area workers for medical and related fields.
“We are very much focused on tying our project to the Medical Campus, downtown core and the East Side of Buffalo,” said McGuire Development President Jim Dentinger. But it’s going to “take some public assistance to make that happen.”
Unyts is considering moving to the former hospital at 425 Michigan Ave. and taking 40 to 50 percent of the 169,000-square-foot facility.
The organ procurement organization is considering consolidating its operations into one location from its current sites at 110 Broadway in Buffalo and 90 Curtwright Drive in Amherst. However, Dentinger said the aging Sheehan facility will take significant interior and exterior work, gutting 90 percent of the hospital floors and building out the space for new tenants’ current needs, which could drive the price up to $11 million to $12 million.
He said the project may need tax incentives, direct investment through the state’s Buffalo Billion program, or some combination.
“The work that will be required to put them in the building, you’re talking major infrastructure improvement, major exterior improvements,” Dentinger said. “We don’t want to just keep the existing shell. We think the building needs to be updated. It’s on the Michigan Corridor, and the community has said they want a different, revitalized look to the building.”
He said McGuire has identified a science, technology, engineering model, with a continued emphasis on medical-related tenants, as the focus for restoring the eight-acre property. That will include economic development, job creation and job training, as well as clinical care for the neighborhood.
McGuire is also looking to attract educational institutions to take up space for additional medical, industrial and other training geared toward the needs of the community.
“We’re providing the real estate and the vision. It’s up to the community to embrace the model as a center of job excellence and job training,” Dentinger said. “We’re looking to attract tenants that believe in the vision and are looking to fit that model very closely.”
University Pediatric Dentistry PC has signed a long-term lease for over 10 years for the dental clinic on the second floor, which will be staffed to serve the downtown and East Side neighborhoods. The practice is associated with the University at Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine and will train hygienists and dental assistants.
The announcement follows the signing of a temporary agreement to house the Langston Hughes Institute, which fits in with McGuire’s goal of serving the community and working with the Michigan Street Corridor Commission, the developer said. Langston Hughes, which is taking up 20,000 square feet for its offices and stored artwork, is likely to stay for six months to a year, until it can finalize its new museum on Broadway, where the art will be displayed, Dentinger said.
McGuire has previously said the site could become a training facility for McGuire Group’s certified nursing program, which trains about 300 certified nursing assistants and nurses every year.
This story has been corrected to reflect the fact that Unyts had not signed a lease to move to the former Sheehan Hospital at the time the story was published.