Ciminelli planning $75 million building near Conventus Center - The Buffalo News
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Ciminelli planning $75 million building near Conventus Center

The early success of Conventus Center, the 300,000-square-foot, $100 million building being built near the entrance to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, is on the verge of spawning another multimillion-dollar facility.

Preliminary plans call for a slightly smaller building on High and Washington streets, diagonally across the street from Conventus Center, on the Langston Hughes site now owned by Ciminelli Real Estate.

Ciminelli Real Estate officials are talking about creating a 250,000-square-foot building with a $70 million to $75 million price tag, said Dennis M. Penman, the company’s executive vice president.

“We are finding the market so interested in Conventus that we started preliminary planning on the Langston Hughes site,” Penman said.

No decision has yet been made on how – or whether – the former Langston Hughes Institute building on the site would be incorporated into the project, said Anne Duggan, Ciminelli Real Estate’s director of marking and public relations. The Langston Hughes building, constructed in 1926, is about 28,000 square feet in size.

“It hasn’t been discussed yet. Everything is so preliminary,” Duggan said.

The seven-story Conventus Center now under construction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015 but is already filling up with tenants involved in the health sciences, education and research, the Ciminelli officials said. “We are in negotiation with people and feel confidant about it filling up by the time it opens in June or July 2015,” Penman said.

While nothing is definite, development of the Langston Hughes site could begin within the next 12 to 24 months and be completed within a year after construction begins, Penman said.

Whatever is built, he said, would be compatible with Conventus Center, and be of a similar scale. Like Conventus Center, he said, it would provide space for health sciences, education and research.

The Langston Hughes property comprises five separate parcels on High and Washington streets, totaling about three-fourths of an acre. The property includes parking lots and the 28,000-square-foot building which, for years, served as the Langston Hughes Institute, an African-American cultural center. The cultural center ran into financial problems and sold the property to Ciminelli for $1.9 million in 2010. Ciminelli has been using the Langston Hughes property as a staging ground while Conventus Center is being built.

Conventus Center is located at High and Main streets, fronting Main, across from the site of the new medical school building being constructed by the University at Buffalo. The Langston Hughes site Ciminelli purchased in 2010 is located behind the new medical school and across from the new Children’s Hospital planned behind the Conventus Center.


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