Plans for former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Monday night, residents got a first-hand look at plans to revamp an historic hospital in Buffalo.

Canterbury Woods Senior Assisted Living Complex will be one of the first buildings to go up at the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital, taking the spot where the tower currently stands.

“Canterbury Woods is a big component of the project, but at the same time they’re only going to take about 15 percent of the land. We’re talking about 10 acres of land,” said Tim Vaeth, president of TM Montante Development.

Lancaster Avenue will be extended, bridging Delaware and Linwood Avenues. Vaeth says during this first phase another building will go up where there’s now a parking lot.

“We’re looking at an urban grocery store, urban market which would be about 25,000 square feet. We are also looking at a health and wellness facility, which is going to be about 55,000-square feet.”

Above the grocery store and wellness center there will be offices and condos or apartments. But first the old buildings have to come down, mainly the huge Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Tower.

“You’re talking about a facility that is almost 900,000=square feet, and you think about that, that’s the HSBC Tower, that’s the Walden Galleria. It’s a huge structure that’s left behind so we’re going to have a lot of demolition and a lot of debris that’s going to come off the site,” said Vaeth.

He doesn’t expect it to cause much of a disturbance to the neighborhood, because they have 10 acres of land to stage the demolition. He’d like to tear down the tower this year, with construction beginning at the start of next year for the first two buildings. There will be another phase with more residential and office space.

Neighbors are excited about the new plans.

“I’m ready for it to get going; it’s been a long wait,” said Cynthia Schwartz, who lives on Auburn Avenue and is part of the Community Advisory Committee.

“They’re actually improving the neighborhood and increasing its value,” said James Derb,y who lives on West Ferry.

“We’re an aging community so it really meets our needs. There are a lot of wonderful things going on,” said Gretchen Gross, a concerned resident.

Developers stressed at the meeting plans could change based on community input. The first two buildings are expected to be complete by January 2017.

The hospital has been closed for a little over two years.

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