Plans for a veterinary school at the shuttered Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital are dead. Chason/Affinity Cos. had proposed a vet school with on-site student housing that would have required selective demolition, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation. Sponsors of the $65 million project had been awkwardly silent since being chosen over a competing proposal by Uniland Development Corporation last August. Property owner Kaleida Health is not wasting any time looking for other options. A new request for proposals is expected to be released next week and Uniland still has interest in the site.
The Buffalo News has the details:
The breakdown followed year-long negotiations between Chason Affinity Cos., which announced the $65 million veterinary school project in August 2012, and Devry Institute, a private, for-profit educational organization that operates the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in the Caribbean.
Kaleida Health, which owns the empty hospital, said a request for proposals will be reissued Wednesday to determine interest in developing the nearly 10-acre site that closed March 2012.
The original process, which included a $1 million award to the winning entry, took eight months before Chason Affinity was selected as designated developer.
“We, as a community, had a wonderful opportunity to bring an exciting project to Buffalo and Western New York. And that was a fully functioning veterinary school,” Kaleida’s President and CEO James R. Kaskie said in a statement.
“But now we must move on, regroup and start an expedited process to award the development rights to a qualified developer.”
A statement from Chason Affinity said the company worked “diligently” to advance its veterinary school proposal and was “disappointed” by Kaleida’s decision to end the agreement after Ross backed out. The company said it is working on another project related to the veterinary field and would explore prospects for it elsewhere in Buffalo.
An executive with Uniland Development, the runner-up a year ago, said the company may throw its hat in the ring a second time.
Uniland’s $100 million proposal called for clearing much of the site and constructing ‘Chapin Place’ containing 276 residential units, a park, a boutique hotel, restaurants, retail space and professional offices.