‘Y’ envisioned as potential anchor development at former hospital site
BUFFALO, NY – The vision for one of the city’s most significant redevelopment projects has become clearer today, with one of the area’s most prestigious nonprofit organizations expressing interest in locating at the site.
Officials from TM Montante Development and YMCA Buffalo Niagara announced today that they have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to explore the possibility of developing a new city-based YMCA family branch at the site of the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle hospital. The LOI sets the stage for the two organizations to move forward in assessing the viability of relocating the current Delaware Avenue YMCA into new, state-of-the-art space as part of the $40 million redevelopment effort being led by TM Montante Development at Gates Circle. A market study is already underway exploring the potential of locating a YMCA in the development.
A community health/wellness center has been a key component of TM Montante Development’s vision for the site from the time the company was selected as the designated developer for the ten-acre parcel, according to TM Montante Development president Timothy Vaeth.
“Adding the YMCA to the development mix would create some dynamic synergies within the overall redevelopment plan,” Vaeth said. “Our goal, as we have stated from the outset, is to create a vibrant, people-based project that integrates well with the surrounding neighborhoods and something that serves the community.”
YMCA Buffalo Niagara opened its current Delaware Avenue facility in 1927. Part of the attraction to explore a new location is the expanded programming and service opportunities the new space would provide, for which the current building does not have capacity. The organization has successfully opened new branches in Amherst and Orchard Park in recent years.
“For YMCA Buffalo Niagara, it is all about providing service to our community,” said Buddy Campbell, Jr., president and CEO. “As we have seen across our organization and throughout the country, there is greater thirst for a diversity of health, wellness and social programming that a robust YMCA can provide. We serve more than 100,000 people annually here in Western New York. We are interested in exploring how we can potentially expand and fulfill our mission of community service as part of TM Montante Development’s vision for Gates Circle.”
In engaging in discussions with YMCA Buffalo Niagara, TM Montante Development is working with an organization that it views as a potential anchor partner for the redevelopment project. The study will look at the viability of developing an approximately 70,000-square-foot facility that could serve the community-at-large, as well as the residents of the $28 million campus of Canterbury Woods, the region’s premier retirement living community, which is being developed on the north end of the site. Current plans have the YMCA facility co-located in a larger, multi-tenant structure fronting on Delaware Ave.
“We’re excited by the prospect of bringing in a partner like YMCA Buffalo Niagara, whose mission and services blend well with our vision for Gates Circle,” Vaeth added. “We view this project as a bellwether development opportunity for Buffalo.”
No timetable has been set for completion of the market study, and a final decision will need to be approved by both the YMCA Buffalo Niagara board of directors and trustees.
In addition to Canterbury Woods and a potential YMCA facility, plans for the multi-million dollar mixed-use redevelopment of the Gates Circle site include market-rate and for-sale residential options, and small retail options. The project will also feature a number of green and sustainable design elements, including a meaningful solar component as a source of alternative energy, as well as significant green space.