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First Elmwood Crossing at Bryant building submitted for city review

The effort to redevelop the former Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo campus in the Elmwood Village will kick off next week, as the developers behind the $100 million Elmwood Crossing project initiate the first phase of formal public review.

The Buffalo Planning Board on Monday will get its first look at a proposed six-story, mixed-use building at the northeast corner of Elmwood Avenue and Bryant Street. That's twice as high as the maximum number of stories allowed for that area under the city's new Green Code.

New details that emerged Wednesday show the building will have storefronts on the first floor, commercial office space on the second floor, and up to 36 luxury rental apartments on the four upper levels of the 80,500-square-foot building.

More details of the project became available Wednesday with a filing by developers Nick Sinatra and William Paladino. Plans call for retail storefronts on the first floor, commercial office space on the second floor, and up to 36 luxury rental apartments on the four upper levels of the 80,500-square-foot building.

The planned structure would be located on a 0.42-acre site that is currently a private parking lot, at 451 Elmwood and 219 Bryant. It's already zoned as "mixed-use center," which would allow the type of "commercial block" building that is contemplated.

A rendering of the reuse plan for the site of the former Women & Children's Hospital. Sinatra & Co. Real Estate and William Paladino's Ellicott Development Co. unveiled new details of their plan last week.

The $16 million project is located in the Elmwood Historic District and is part of the much larger planned redevelopment of the entire eight-acre former hospital campus. So it's subject to review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, which the Planning Board is expected to take the lead on at its Monday meeting. That review will last at least 30 days, at which time the Board will hold a public hearing and consider the site plan itself.

However, the project will need at least five variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals for its height, and for taking up the entire lot when the Green Code specifies a maximum of 90 percent. Besides the number of stories, the proposed building would be 76 feet to the roof line, where the Green Code tops out at 44 feet on Elmwood.

Additionally, the plan would also violate Green Code stipulations regarding the size of a ground-floor retail store and the maximum amount of total commercial space for a new building.

The project will also be reviewed by the Buffalo Water Authority and Buffalo Sewer Authority, as well as the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The developers plan to seek brownfield tax credits, as well as tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, according to their application to the city.

If approved, construction on the project – designed by Wendel Companies and Carmina Wood Morris PC – would last about 14 months, according to the developers' application to the city.

Sinatra & Company Real Estate and Paladino's Ellicott Development Co. are planning a multiphase redevelopment of the sprawling site, which had been home to Children's for over a century – until its November 2017 move to the new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The companies – who were selected by Kaleida Health last summer to take over the project as designated developers – have proposed a mixed-use residential, retail and office community. It would include about 200 apartments, 40 to 50 for-sale condominiums, 40-45 townhouses, an urban grocery, boutique shops, office space and an EduKids day care center.

Most of the existing hospital buildings, including the Variety and Tanner towers, would be retained and reused, while two buildings would be expanded. A 15,000-square-foot former pharmacy on West Utica Street would be expanded into a four-story building with an urban grocery, boutique shops and apartments. The 4,000-square-foot former Hodge Pediatrics would more than double in size to house the day care, with a playground.

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