The metamorphosis under way at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus promises to transform a neighborhood while serving as a key economic catalyst for the Western New York region.
As News business reporter Jonathan D. Epstein outlined in a Sunday article, big changes are sprouting up along High and Main streets.
Work on Ciminelli Real Estate Corp.’s new Conventus medical building is nearly half done. Dug deep into the ground and taking shape will be an impressive two-level concrete underground parking ramp, which is mostly complete, as is most of the steel structure for the seven-story building.
Conventus is a privately funded project with a $110 million price tag. Its eclectic mix of clinical and research tenants is designed to foster collaborative thinking and scientific development.
As the medical health center for Kaleida Health, Conventus will form a hub for the wide range of facilities on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Center. Taken together with all the other new buildings due to come on line at the campus in the coming years, the investment is impressive.
As Epstein wrote, the cost overshadows the work at Canalside and the Buffalo Sabres’ $172 million HarborCenter project.
There is the $270 million John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and the University at Buffalo’s $375 million School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Those projects will be directly connected to Conventus, although the start of their construction has been delayed.
The $40 million first phase of Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s new Clinical Sciences Center at Michigan Avenue and Carlton Street is also under way. The other projects are mostly publicly funded by the government and university, with help from Kaleida Health, the region’s largest hospital system, which includes Children’s Hospital.
When all is said and done at the campus, there will be an estimated 7,000 new doctors, researchers and associated workers brought to the downtown area.
Few would have openly predicted such transformation not only on the Medical Campus but also across downtown on Buffalo’s waterfront. There, work was recently completed on the reconstruction of the former Donovan Building into One Canalside. Nearby the giant HarborCenter building, under construction by Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, will house a hotel and two full-size hockey rinks. It is expected to leverage further economic activity by attracting tournaments to Buffalo.
After so many years devoid of progress, it is heartening to see the energy returning to Buffalo’s downtown.