Ciminelli Real Estate picks design for 11-story Medical Campus building - The Buffalo News

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Ciminelli Real Estate picks design for 11-story Medical Campus building

Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. has selected a design for an 11-story medical and research building that is expected to cost up to $140 million and mark the latest significant addition to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The developer has picked the architectural firm Perkins + Will to design the new clinical, research and office building the company plans to build at 33 High St., the current site of the old Langston Hughes Institute building.

Ciminelli Real Estate plans to develop the building across the street from its successful Conventus medical research and office building, at Main and High streets, and the new building would be similar in size and scope.

“We’ll be creating a collaborative environment,” Denise M. Juron-Borgese, Ciminelli’s vice president of development and planning, said in an interview Tuesday.

Ciminelli said it is talking to potential tenants for the new building, which it calls 33 High Street, but it was not ready to identify them. Preliminary plans call for a building with between 300,000 and 350,000 square feet and an estimated cost of between $120 million and $140 million. But company officials cautioned those plans could change as Perkins + Will produces a final design.

The developer anticipates tearing down the existing building on the property, a 28,500-square-foot, three-story structure that dates to 1926.

33 High Street LLC – a limited liability corporation in which Frank L. Ciminelli, the founder of Ciminelli Real Estate, served as managing member – bought the property in 2010.

LPCiminelli, the general contractor, has leased the building for use as its construction office while that company worked on the Conventus project and again on the nearby University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Frank L. Ciminelli died in 2014. His 33 High Street LLC sold the property, with his estate representing the late Ciminelli’s interests, to 33 High Street Partners LLC, with Ciminelli’s son, Paul, the president and CEO of Ciminelli Real Estate, as the managing member, in a transaction that closed Friday, according to Anne E. Duggan, a company spokeswoman.

The Buffalo News reported in February on Ciminelli Real Estate’s plans for the site, which seek to capitalize on the continuing growth on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The project at 33 High would mirror the developer’s seven-story Conventus project.

Conventus has about 340,000 square feet and was priced at $110 million for the structural “core-and-shell,” but the final cost will be closer to $175 million after all the space is built out, because of the higher cost of research facilities and plumbing for clinical space, company officials previously said.

Conventus tenants include Kaleida Health and UBMD on the second through fifth floors, office and laboratory space for the drugmaker Athenex on the sixth floor, as well as research space for a drug and technology innovation hub on the seventh floor, anchored by Albany Molecular Research Inc. and Massachusetts-based PerkinElmer. It also has two levels of underground parking for 318 cars.

The building at 33 High would have floor plates of about 30,000 to 40,000 square feet each, slightly smaller on average than Conventus, so the new building would be more rectangular than Conventus, although the design can change, Juron-Borgese said. Plans also call for one or two stories of below-ground parking and a retail component.

Ciminelli Real Estate sent requests for designs to 22 firms and received responses that included conceptual designs from 12 of them. A jury interviewed several finalists before selecting Perkins + Will, which Juron-Borgese said designed a beautiful but “constructible” building.

“This design process is really a dialogue, and they acknowledged and we understand, too, that the design will evolve and change. But it really communicates the spirit of the design that we’ll want to ultimately realize,” she said.

LPCiminelli will serve as general contractor on the project.

Ciminelli officials could not say when construction would likely start on 33 High Street, nor when they expect work to be completed on the project.

The next step is for Perkins + Will, whose Boston office won the contract, to produce a final design for the site plan.

“It’s important to get the pieces in place, and all dates flow from there,” Juron-Borgese said.

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