An office building underway at 1001 Main Street will be getting an extra floor. Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation will be adding a seventh floor to Conventus after striking a deal with New York State to locate a biomedical research facility in the building. The research center will be anchored by Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), a global contract research and manufacturing organization offering customers fully integrated drug discovery, development, and manufacturing services, and according to The Buffalo News, PerkinElmer, a Massachusetts company with 7,500 employees and $2 billion in annual revenue.
Ciminelli has said that the ultimate size of the building would be market driven, and that flexibility has paid off.
“The building was designed for seven floors, but we went into it thinking we would do six due to business risk,” says Dennis M. Penman, Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation’s Executive Vice President/ Principal. “We are now able to increase the density at the site by building a more substantial building that will maximize the value of the site and leverage the public investment happening around us on the Medical Campus.”
The “front door” of the John R. Oishei Women and Children’s Hospital outpatient surgery center and UBMD, a physicians group associated with the University at Buffalo, are anchoring the project. Plans show that overhead walkways will connect the building to the proposed UB Medical School on the south side of High Street as well as to the UB RIA building across Goodrich Street. It will also connect to the planned Hospital to the east. Kideney Architects designed the building.
Officials at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and at the State level have been looking for a permanent home for AMRI and the biomedical research facility. Initial plans called for a new building on the site of the Trico plant but those plans shifted to a new building on the Goodrich Street parking ramp site after preservationists and others questioned the need to demolish the complex.
AMRI was expected to take temporary space in an expanded SmartPill building at Main and Virginia that the Medical Campus had proposed buying. The purchase and needed expansion was estimated to cost $15 million. Instead of a costly move to temporary space, AMRI will now be moving into the Jacobs Institute located in Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute on Ellicott Street. The temporary space should be open by February.
For the permanent location, Ciminelli will be creating a commercial condo for the seventh floor. The 50,000 sq.ft. space will be sold to the State.
Conventus’ sixth floor remains available but Penman believes there will be demand for the space from a wide range of potential tenants. He says being connected to the new UB Medical School will have academic appeal and will be attractive to companies that have a clinical relationship with the new Children’s Hospital and other Medical Campus anchors.
“We purposely have said that this is not a medical office building. It was designed specifically to be a center for collaborative medicine, and that is exactly what is happening,” says Penman.
Penman believes the State’s commitment to the building will only increase the building’s marketability and will target companies needing research and development space particularly in the pharmaceutical and medical device fields.
First Niagara Bank has agreed to open a branch in the building’s first floor. The balance of the space will be a mix of retail and restaurant tenants.
“We are talking to a management company for the first floor space that would bring in food service and retail tenants that would fit into the medical campus setting,” says Penman. “We see a huge opportunity to serve the campus’ significant population.”
AMRI and PerkinElmer will move into Conventus by the fourth quarter of next year. Kaleida Health and UBMD will open in mid-2015.
Conventus Partners, LP, a Ciminelli Real Estate subsidiary, owns Conventus. One of the prime investors is Seavest Healthcare Properties with thirty years experience in commercial real estate.
“We brought in four potential partners with national experience and spent a half day with each showing them the Medical Campus and Buffalo,” says Penman. “All four wanted to partner on the project and all saw value in what for now is a secondary market. But most importantly they saw value in Buffalo.”
Penman says Ciminelli sees value as well and is a firm believer in the Medical Campus and city as a whole. The company owns the former Langston Hughes Institute building on High Street and has its eyes on other sites.
“We have entered into a contract for a sale/lease back arrangement on the Epic Building on Main Street and have replied to an RFP issued by the Salvation Army for its site at Main and High streets,” he says. “And we are focused on other acquisitions on the Medical Campus that aren’t far enough along to talk about yet.”
Get Connected: Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation, 716.631.8000