The Delaware Avenue mansion at West Ferry Street that housed Gilda’s Club WNY, a Hospice Buffalo affiliate, is going up for sale after participation in wellness programs steadily dwindled and the building became vacant earlier this year.
The board of trustees at the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, which oversees Hospice Buffalo, voted to sell the house at 1140 Delaware in an effort to more efficiently use resources, said Patrick T. Flynn, president of the Hospice Foundation of WNY.
Gilda’s Club WNY opened in 2004 and offered physical and social wellness programs affiliated with hospice care.
Flynn said that when Glida’s Club was functioning, there were nearly 30 programs offered, some with only a handful of participants. Meanwhile, the Hospice Buffalo location in Cheektowaga had seen strong numbers in its programs, Flynn said.
“We want to be efficient and make sure we’re not conducting or establishing a program that serves three people when we can have one that serves many more people,” he said. “It didn’t make sense to maintain that building for a few people coming through.”
The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care partnered with Gilda’s Club in 2010, and in 2013, the organization invested in the club and took on the $700,000 mortgage at 1140 Delaware. Prior to seeking affiliation with the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, the board of Gilda’s Club was months away from shutting its doors, Flynn said. The partnership between the organizations enabled programs to be maintained for a few years.
Flynn said the parent organization is in the process of getting the property listed. CBRE, a real estate firm, is doing a market analysis and will then suggest an asking price. The property was valued at just under $1.4 million during a 2010 evaluation, Flynn said.
The money made from the sale of the mansion will then be used to establish an endowment fund that will go toward continuing programs that were previously offered at Gilda’s Club. The plan for the endowment fund was conveyed to donors of the Gilda’s Club, Flynn said.
“We wanted to make sure they understood that although it’s a difficult decision, it’s the right decision given the resources we have,” he said.
Flynn said the parent organization will always be open to offering programming downtown if the option presents itself or if there are partnership opportunities. He added that what happened to the local Gilda’s Club has happened elsewhere around the country, particularly after the recession.
Gilda’s Club was founded for Gilda Radner, a comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member who died of cancer in 1989.