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CFO Christian Campos named president of TM Montante

As it moves ahead with the demolition and reuse of the former Millard Fillmore Hospital on Gates Circle, TM Montante Development on Tuesday named a new president, promoting its chief financial officer to replace veteran development executive J. Timothy Vaeth.

Christian Campos, who joined the firm in 2012 and has been CFO for the past year, takes over the No. 2 role at the company, behind founder and CEO Thomas M. Montante. In his new job, his primary responsibility will be overseeing the company’s major real estate development projects, particularly the sprawling Gates Circle site in Buffalo as well as the Riverview Solar Technology Park in the Town of Tonawanda.

“I’m excited about my new role,” Campos said. “Our company is poised for growth. If you look at the wave of development sweeping across Western New York, TM Montante Development is leading some of the most diverse and exciting projects in the region. We’re ready to make a transformative mark on the local development landscape.”

The firm would not comment on what happened with Vaeth, who has been president for the last two years, and oversaw the firm’s redevelopment of the former Spaghetti Warehouse building into the Planing Mill, as well as the company’s selection as the winning developer for Gates Circle. Prior to joining TM Montante, Vaeth was vice president and director of development at Ciminelli Real Estate, where he was an expert on LEED-certified development, environmental remediation and design and land-use entitlements.

“Tim is no longer with the company,” said spokesman Phil Pantano. Vaeth could not be reached for comment.

Campos, a Buffalo native and Georgetown University graduate, brings a wide-ranging background to his new role. Prior to joining Montante, he co-founded and was chief operating officer of an Internet startup in Buffalo that served professional photographers.

Since joining the development firm, he has overseen finances for the company and its portfolio of real estate and solar projects, including Gates Circle, the Planing Mill and the development of the FedEx Trade Networks building at Riverview.

The management change comes as the developer moves ahead with $13 million of remediation work at the 882,000-square-foot Gates Circle complex.

Montante hired Buffalo-based Ontario Specialty Contracting, which specializes in environmental remediation, brownfield redevelopment, demolition and dismantlement, to handle the cleanup and demolition work.

Crews also will start cleanup work inside the former hospital tower building. Montante received a $2 million loan from an arm of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to support the cleanup.

With approval of the Buffalo Preservation Board already in hand, demolition of the former power plant facility is targeted for early this month, and officials hope to demolish the former hospital tower this summer and get the land ready for construction by October.

Plans call for a new $30 million city-based campus for Episcopal Church Home & Afffiliates’ senior-care community, Canterbury Woods, featuring a six-story building with 53 independent-living apartments where the hospital tower now stands.

The rest of the overall project, valued at another $40 million, entails a second major building along Delaware Avenue with a fitness facility, an urban grocery store and office space, as well as separate areas for other small retailers and as many as 500 market-rate rental apartments, for-sale condominiums and townhouses.

There also will be significant greenspace or parkland and solar-power aspects of the total $63 million project, and some reconstruction of streets.