BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- It’s a massive undertaking to redevelop the old Women and Children’s Hospital. Plans for phase one of the project moved forward on Monday.
Sinatra and Company Real Estate hopes to turn the parking lot at the corner of Bryant and Elmwood into a six story complex with apartments, retail space and restaurants.
“Ideally, we would like to get started in the summer but it has to work through the process,” said Amy Nagy, with Sinatra and Co.
The Buffalo Planning Board still has to approve the project.
Board members took the first step in moving the environmental review process forward Monday afternoon, approving a resolution to become the lead agency.
There’s still a long way to go, including public hearings.
“I think everyone is really happy to see everything moving forward,” said Carly Battin, a member of the project advisory committee.
She’s been involved in the committee since 2012.
“I’m not sure if six stories is the appropriate height but I do think it should be a larger building,” she said. “We’re hoping that this results in a positive project for the neighborhood.”
She encourages neighbors to join the conversation and participate in the upcoming public meetings.
The height of this development has come into question at informal information sessions in the past. The city’s Green Code only allows for buildings to be three stories tall.
“We understand there is some necessary compromise here,” said Nagy.
She told News 4 they plan to make a case, however, that the taller building makes sense as a piece of the larger project. Other buildings on site are nine or 10 stories tall.
They are still finalizing plans for the entire seven acre site. Nagy said they’re analyzing the towers and historic buildings.
“You’re talking about a series of buildings that were constructed from 1912 on so truly who knows what we’ll find,” said Nagy. “We’re feeling that overall things are very promising.”
She said Kaleida moved out of the site completely in January.
Their preliminary tests across the site show it may be a Brownfield, which would need to be cleaned up. They hope to have the state environmental review process going by the spring.
Eventually, Nagy told us, they hope to have about 250 apartments, town homes and condos, a hotel, grocery store and a daycare on the site.
“It’s a project where there won’t be a perfect fit for everyone,” said Nagy. “We are committed to coming up with a project that ultimately is a neighborhood asset and we will try to find compromise in as many areas as possible.”
Battin told News 4 she hopes the plan includes more public space and a playground.
Learn more about the proposal here.