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Developers could take over old Children's Hospital site next week

The development team tasked with reusing the old Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo is ready to take possession of the Bryant Street campus as soon as next week after Kaleida Health completes the move of the hospital to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus this week.

Sinatra & Company Real Estate and Ellicott Development Co. anticipate completing the purchase of the 125-year-old hospital property within days of the long-anticipated and heavily choreographed move, Nick Sinatra and Kaleida officials said. That's when the old hospital will be officially shut down, although Kaleida security and operational staff will remain in place to maintain and protect the buildings until the transaction is finished.

Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo on Bryant Street in the Elmwood Village. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Under an agreement signed and approved by Kaleida several weeks ago, the developers are paying $1 million for the land and seven buildings, which together occupy 7.89 acres and 617,000 square feet of space in the Elmwood Village, Kaleida officials said. Specifically, those properties stretch over three city blocks along Bryant and West Utica streets and Hodge and Elmwood avenues.

Kaleida administrators disclosed the amount of the transaction Wednesday during interviews about the Friday opening of John R. Oishei Children's Hospital on the Medical Campus, as well as the closing of Women & Children's Hospital after a 24-hour move of dozens of patients throughout Friday into early Saturday.

"On Monday, it kind of hit everyone that this was the last week on the Bryant Street campus," Kaleida CEO Jody Lomeo said Wednesday inside Oishei's lobby. "The emotion of that is real."

What you need to know about the Children's Hospital move

As part of the agreement, they said, Kaleida will still have nine weeks to get any remaining furniture and equipment out of the buildings. That includes equipment that was purchased within the last three years, which the health care system plans to repurpose and use in other Kaleida facilities.

But in preparation, Kaleida already increased its recycling and trash contract over the last 60 days to ramp up disposing of items from the old hospital as part of "a major purge," said Kaleida spokesman Michael P. Hughes.

"We'll leave the building in very good shape when we leave," he said, noting that staff has been cleaning throughout the hospital as operations there wind down.

In the meantime, the developers are still working on their plans for the site, together with Kaleida officials and a committee of about 24 people, representing various community organizations, block clubs and businesses. That group, with some changes to its membership, has been meeting with Kaleida, University at Buffalo urban planners and development representatives for more than four years.

As part of that process, Sinatra and Ellicott CEO William Paladino planned to meet with block club leaders Wednesday night to discuss the latest iteration of those plans, which have already gone through numerous reviews and changes since the two companies took over in July as the designated development team.

Kaleida had previously chosen Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. as the designated developer in June 2016, but revoked that agreement and changed directions last summer after failing to reach an agreement with Ciminelli.

Hughes said that when Kaleida selected Ellicott and Sinatra in July, they planned to sew up the deal within 100 days. The goal on Kaleida's end was a relatively seamless transition once the old Children's Hospital closed Nov. 10.

Hughes said the developers are expected to begin environmental testing right away.

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