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McGuire Development planning mixed-use building on Michigan Avenue at Compass East

With the redevelopment of the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital on Michigan Avenue into Compass East complete, McGuire Development Co. is now poised to add a second mixed-use building to the prominent site at the edge of downtown.

The real estate firm is finalizing details to build a three-story, 45,000-square-foot building on Michigan Avenue, with a goal of helping to spur further activity along what’s termed the Michigan Avenue African-American Heritage Corridor.

The building is expected to feature about 15,000 to 20,000 square feet of office space, plus at least 20 apartments and ground-floor retail space. The exterior appearance is still being discussed with city officials, and may incorporate a historic look, said McGuire President James Dentinger.

“We want to make sure with the city that we’re on the right track with the Heritage Corridor,” Dentinger said. “We think it creates momentum and a much more successful project that way.”

Final plans will be submitted to the city for approval shortly, he said, and officials hope to start construction on the $6 million to $7 million project next spring, with a goal of finishing by spring 2017. “We see ourselves as part of downtown and a natural extension of helping the urban core and renaissance on the East Side,” Dentinger said. “We’re big believers in community involvement, and that will be a big component of this.”

The new project seeks to build off the success of Compass East at 425 Michigan, which McGuire bought and transformed into an office-dominated building that now houses Time Warner Cable Business Class, computer tablet maker Bak Systems, University Pediatric Dentistry, a training facility for parent company and nursing home operator McGuire Group, and a community clinic.

The $10.5 million conversion of the former urban hospital, which McGuire took over at a bankruptcy auction in February 2013, also includes two residential apartments, but the original designs called for 10 more. Those were put on hold because of the expanded demand for commercial space, so now the firm is shifting those apartments to the new building instead. The units will have a “beautiful vista view of Buffalo,” as well as rooftop amenities, Dentinger said.

Dentinger also noted that Compass East is one of only a few downtown projects, along with TM Montante’s Planing Mill and a pair of developments by Jake Schneider, that connect the urban core with the East Side by essentially “crossing” the Elm-Oak arterial corridor.