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Brothers of Mercy, Unyts plan expansions in Clarence

Two health care organizations are planning major expansions in Clarence.

The Brothers of Mercy want permission to construct an assisted living facility and a memory care building, with 96 total beds at a cost of $17.5 million, at its Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Bergtold Road.

And Unyts, which encourages and manages the donation of organs and blood, is planning an expansion of the new headquarters on Bryant and Stratton Way where the organization will move this fall. Unyts is in the middle of a $2.5 million rehabilitation of the building it bought last year from Autism Services.

Both projects are under review by Clarence town officials.

The Brothers of Mercy already have a 70-bed assisted living facility, called the Sacred Heart Home, on its 92-acre campus at Bergtold and Ransom roads. But CEO Peter Eimer said the organization wanted to provide those residents improved services and living arrangements.

The Brothers of Mercy do not provide memory care housing, which caters to people with dementia. "We have a big demand for it," Eimer said.

The new buildings are separate but will be joined by a central area with a chapel and café. The assisted living space will have 64 beds in a two-story building. The upper floor, because of the grade of the site, will be level with the one-story memory care building and its 32 beds, Eimer said.

Both buildings are designed around a communal model, with six households of 16 beds. Each household will have its own lounge, kitchen and activities area, Eimer said. The buildings are a combined 87,000 square feet. Furniture and equipment would cost another $500,000, Eimer said.

The town Planning Board will review the project's effect on sewer capacity, density, traffic flow and other issues, but Eimer said he doesn't expect any insurmountable hurdles.

The Brothers of Mercy also need approval from the state Department of Health. They hope to begin construction in the first half of 2019.

The organization would convert the vacated space in its existing assisted living facility for clinics and offices at an estimated cost of $6 million to $7 million.

Unyts plans to move on Nov. 1 into its new space at 4444 Bryant and Stratton Way, near Main Street and Transit Road behind the Eastern Hills Mall, on 4.7 acres that the organization bought in March 2017 for $1.6 million. The space, originally a satellite campus for the college, was most recently home to Autism Services.

Unyts is consolidating its space at 110 Broadway, where it has 54,000 square feet, and a 15,000-square-foot leased building at 90 Curtwright Drive in Amherst, said Mark Simon, the president and CEO. "We're trying to get all of Unyts into one location," he said.

The nonprofit, founded in 1981, is one of just a handful of organizations nationwide that includes organ, tissue and eye procurement in one location.

As part of the move, Unyts plans to build a 15,700-square-foot warehouse and office addition to the existing building, which is undergoing renovations. The warehouse would house Unyts' mobile blood collection trucks and buses, which now are stored at Curtwright, Simon said.

Unyts doesn't have an estimate for the cost of the second phase of the work at Bryant and Stratton. If the town approves the project, work would begin this fall or next spring, Simon said.

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