The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra now has its new administrative home.
Developer John Yurtchuk completed his $2 million purchase of the historic Clement Mansion on Delaware Avenue from the Buffalo chapter of the American Red Cross last week.
The BPO will now occupy part of the 17,000-square-foot building for its offices, but will lease back the rest of the space to the Red Cross, which will stay as a tenant in the shared nonprofit building. The Red Cross has used the building since 1941, when Carolyn Tripp Clement first donated it to the organization, but it no longer uses or needs the entire 4-acre property.
The move enables Yurtchuk, owner of Matrix Development Corp. and an executive at Calspan, to fulfill commitments to both organizations. He is former chairman of the Red Cross chapter, and a current board member of the orchestra.
Yurtchuk plans to donate the home and 1.15 acres to the orchestra's Crescendo Campaign, without any restrictions, making it one of the largest donations the organization has ever received. But first he has to maintain ownership for 366 days for tax reasons.
The BPO – which will occupy the second floor and some mezzanine space – will not have any mortgage, which saves them money over the rent they used to pay at 499 Franklin St. And the Red Cross, which will shift to the third floor, will pay less in rent than it did for the prior mortgage. The two organizations will share three conference rooms on the first floor, while the Red Cross keeps two offices there. In all, between the two agencies, about 50 people will work in the mansion, and the organizations also will share the basement storage.
Yurtchuk also arranged for EFS – a Cheektowaga engineering firm that already manages the developer's Dent Tower in Amherst – to manage the property for the nonprofits.
As for the rest of the site, Yurtchuk will split off the mansion and front lawn on Delaware from the 2.848-acre rear of the sprawling property, which includes the main parking lot and a much larger trio of buildings totaling 53,500 square feet. He hopes to redevelop that complex for office, medical or other commercial tenants – possibly even for use as a nonprofit campus or incubator, in partnership with the Oishei Foundation.