Share this article

print logo

Kaleida seeks to demolish Deaconess Nonprofit wants to build headquarters ?on site of former hospital, nursing home

Kaleida Health is seeking to demolish the former Deaconess Hospital to make way for a new headquarters for Community Action Organization of Erie County, a local nonprofit human services organization.

The 268,000-square-foot building at 1001 Humboldt Parkway was converted in the late 1980s from a hospital into a nursing home.

Kaleida closed the building last December as part of a move to consolidate two nursing homes at one new long-term care facility called HighPointe on Michigan.

Officials from Kaleida and CAO are scheduled to address the city preservation board Thursday regarding the demolition plans.

Michael P. Hughes, spokesman and vice president for Kaleida, said the health care provider does not anticipate significant opposition to razing the building, which was constructed in the 1950s.

"No. 1, it's not a historic structure," he said. "And No. 2, there's a very responsible reuse of the site."

CAO wants to use the shovel-ready site to build a headquarters, as well as additional office space, a community service center, classrooms and housing.

Gethsemane Manor Apartments, a senior living facility located nearby on Kingsley Street, will stay.

CAO, which has signed a development deal with Kaleida, also wants to locate a Head Start Academy on the site. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CAO headquarters currently are located at 70 Harvard Place in a older building that "was never intended to have the kind of use we're putting it through," said L. Nathan Hare, CAO president and chief executive officer.

The organization is planning a three-story building of roughly 45,000 square feet at the Deaconess site.

"Definitely it will be a significant building," said Hare.

In 2011, CAO completed a $16 million redevelopment of an abandoned orphanage on Dodge Street into 24 two-bedroom apartments and 36 townhouse units with green space and play areas. The organization wants to expand its housing development work to the Deaconess site, as well, with 80 to 95 units geared toward middle-income residents in the area of Humboldt Parkway to the east, Wohlers Avenue to the west and extending north to Riley Street. A small grocery store and service commercial space also are envisioned for the area.

"We wanted to do something that would put a lot more equity in this area and improve property values," Hare said.

The project could take three to five years to complete and could cost as much as $32 million, said Hare, who is looking to pay for the construction through a mix of tax credits, state funds and a mortgage.

CAO hopes to occupy its new headquarters by mid-2014, he said. The move would allow the agency to consolidate some operations and save on rent.

Demolition could begin as soon as this summer. The proposal goes to the city Planning Board in July.

Deaconess Hospital closed in 1986. The building was renamed Deaconess Center and housed 242 long-term care beds, a dental clinic and doctors' offices.

The nursing home closed in December and is now housed, along with 75 skilled-nursing unit beds from the former Millard Fillmore Hospital, in a new facility on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Health care equipment from the Deaconess Center was auctioned in April.