The City is looking to help jump-start redevelopment of the Gates Circle hospital properties. The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency wants to certify the Lancaster Square development site as an Urban Development Action Area. The designation would enable the City to “provide incentives for construction of Urban Development Action Area Projects to reduce blight.”
From the cover letter to the Planning Board that will consider the matter today:
Article 16 outlines the process for designating an Action Area to reduce substandard, blighted, deteriorated or deteriorating conditions by providing real property tax benefits to developers of projects within such areas and as approved by municipalities.
The policy and purposes of Article 16 are to provide incentives for the correction of these conditions by the clearance, re-planning, reconstruction, and redevelopment, of such areas, to protect and promote the safety, health, and welfare of the municipality, through the use of public and private improvement programs and the encouragement and participation in these programs by private enterprise.
The proposed Linwood Lafayette Urban Development Action Area contains the vacant site and remaining structures of the former Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital campus. State law requires that at least 60 percent of the land in the proposed Action Area be City-owned and for that reason the Area contains Gates Circle as well as the parking ramp on the site.
Developer TM Montante has completed substantial demolition work on the site. The historic hospital buildings along Linwood Avenue remain. Canterbury Woods Gates Circle was constructed by the Episcopal Church Home & Affiliates overlooking Gates Circle. People Inc. purchased a former parking lot at Linwood and Lafayette for an affordable senior housing project that is wrapping up. Work on the remainder of the site has been stalled. Plans to renovate the remaining hospital buildings took a hit when they were deemed ineligible for federal historic preservation tax credits. Complicating things, TM Montante’s development partner, Morgan Communities of Rochester, is entangled in financial problems.
More from the letter:
TM Montante has completed certain work to prepare the site for redevelopment, including the remediation and demolition of certain buildings on site and environmental remediation in accordance with New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.
The vacant and deteriorated former Homeopathic Hospital structures are significantly blighted, and redevelopment is severely limited by the National Parks determination that “the property does not appear to meet the criteria for individual listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The Parking Garage adjacent to the former MFG Hospital campus site is also substandard and deteriorating.