Originally published by Buffalo Business First on March 1, 2017
By: James Fink
With its site preparation, road and infrastructure work nearly complete, TM Montante Development is beginning to shift its focus to building out the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital property.
Plans call for the first building, a gateway structure into the redeveloped hospital campus, to be constructed, with work beginning perhaps as early as this summer.
TM Montante officials confirmed the first structure, set for the northeast corner of Delaware Avenue and the soon-to-be christened Lancaster Avenue extension that will cut through the property.
The six-story, 60,000-square-foot building will house neighborhood retail and restaurant space on its first floor and 60 market-rate apartments — a mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units — spread on its upper five floors. Christian Campos, TM Montante Development president, said 70 percent of the units will be one-bedroom apartments and the remaining 30 percent will be two-bedroom units.
TM Montante Development has dubbed the complex Lancaster Square at Gates Circle, partially because it will overlook the Lancaster Square, a public gathering location within the former hospital property.
“We want this building to be welcoming,” Campos said. “It’s designed to invite people into the property.”
A price tag for the building is still being estimated, Campos said. The cost, though, is expected to be north of $100 per square foot. The final design is still being drawn up.
Campos said his company will hold meetings with surrounding neighborhood groups to review the project. After those meetings are conducted, TM Montante Development will submit the building’s plans to various Buffalo agencies for review. That will likely happen later this spring.
Lancaster Square at Gates Circle is located at the nearly eight-acre former hospital property.
TM Montante Development will be building, over a period of years, both residential and commercial structures including a possible YMCA branch and a Tops Friendly Market. Negotiations with both the YMCA and Tops continue, Campos said.
In addition, Canterbury Woods is expected this fall to open its 51-unit senior apartment complex on a portion of the hospital property that it bought from TM Montante Development.
Between TM Montante and Canterbury Woods respective investments, more than $150 million will be spent turning the land into a mixed-use community.
Campos said the project has already generated a fair amount of buzz from prospective retail and restaurant tenants as well as those interested in the apartments.
“When we say retail or restaurants, we are talking about small scale options that will fit into the neighborhood,” Campos said.
The building was designed by BLTa, a Philadelphia-based firm that responded to an RFP issued by TM Montante Development. The project is the firm’s first in Buffalo.
“We are working with a firm that recognizes the importance of Buffalo’s architectural heritage,” Campos said.
BLTa will be working with a number of local firms on the project including C&S Cos., M/E Engineering, and Siracuse Engineers. Montante Construction will manage the construction.
Campos said he hopes to start work this summer.