TM Montante Development, the company leading the transformation of the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle hospital site, held a forum to seek input from area residents on their planned project. The event, “A Conversation on the Future of Gates Circle,” was held at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Montante unveiled a new look for the proposed $63 million development that will fill the 10-acre site with a number of mixed-use components including market-rate and for-sale residential options, retail, offices, and a community health and wellness center.
Two of the sites largest buildings will front Delaware Avenue. The six-story $28 million Canterbury Woods Gates Circle will feature 50 independent living and assisted living apartments and will sit prominently on Gates Circle facing Chapin Parkway.
At the south end of the site, a seven or eight story building (above) is expected to contain an ‘urban market’ and ‘health and wellness center’ topped by residential units. Montante is currently talking to the YMCA to take the wellness center space and a number of grocery stores including Dash’s and Tops to anchor the building. The building would be built to the Delaware Avenue sidewalk and feature a brick base designed to look like a historic warehouse topped by a three or four story addition with a more modern look.
Lancaster Avenue would be extended through the site to connect to Linwood. The new stretch will be flanked with three to four-story mixed-use buildings with retail and residential space on the north side of Lancaster and a large office and residential building at the southwest corner of Linwood and Lancaster. Five residential buildings will front Lancaster, Lafayette, and Linwood avenues surrounding a planned ‘great lawn’ in the center of the site. The hospital would be demolished but the parking ramp will remain.
The mixed-use building fronting Delaware received a lukewarm reception from at least the people The Buffalo News talked to last night (EDIT: BRO commenters that attended had a much more favorable view):
What drew the most fire was a building that was not yet named, an imposing mixed-use seven- or eight-story high-rise proposed for the southeast corner of Delaware and Lancaster Avenue, which the developers want to extend as a private street for one block to Linwood.
“It’s so massive,” a woman in the audience whispered as a diagram of building shapes was screened during [TM Montante Development President Tim] Vaeth’s presentation.
It also inspired the harshest reactions on the comment sheets next to images of all the buildings during a reception in the gallery’s upstairs mezzanine that followed the presentation.
“Bone ugly,” said one.
“Looks like a 19th century factory,” said another.
Even Vaeth was less than enthusiastic when an architect’s sketch of it flashed on the auditorium screen.
“That brick is dark,” he exclaimed. “We’re not thrilled with the way it’s coming across tonight. It’s going to evolve.
“We want to be conservative,” he noted. “We don’t want to be aggressive or off-putting. There will be a brick base and on top of that, it is 2014, 2015, there will be glass and metal panels on top. We promise not to use any robin’s egg blue brick.”
TM Montante Development was selected as the designated developer for the 10-acre site late last year. 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. Wendel Design has been working with Montante on site layout and architecture. TM Montante is just starting City review of the project and expects to start construction next year.
Renderings courtesy of TM Montante Development; Earlier post’s photos thanks to RaChaCha.