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"Medical mall" project on Jefferson morphs into nonprofit "hub"

A proposal by developers Nick Sinatra and David Pawlik to construct a new healthcare facility on Buffalo's East Side has given way to the partners' new plan for a nonprofit office "hub" at the Jefferson Avenue site instead, after the original concept grew too big for the land.

Sinatra & Company Real Estate and Pawlik's Creative Structures Services had teamed up in early 2017 with Dr. Gregory Daniel's Nidus Development to convert a commercial property at 1200 Jefferson into a new "medical mall" to serve the area community.

The $4.5 million project would combine primary, pediatric, obstetric and other specialty medical practices with services such as behavioral care, nutrition and wellness. It would also have some form of acute care for more serious conditions that don't require an emergency room visit, and may even include some fresh food and fitness offerings.

The goal was to improve the health of inner-city residents, prevent larger medical problems and ultimately reduce the need for them to visit hospitals, the developers and Daniel have said.

But as those discussions continued, and other potential participants expressed interest in being part of it, "the project expanded and grew," Pawlik said.

"There’s a lot more interest in having this expanded correctly," he said. "That location wasn't large enough to accommodate all of that."

So Daniel is working with Sinatra to explore other possible locations, although Pawlik wouldn't say where that might be, or when details would be known. "For now, these discussions are only in the preliminary stages," Pawlik said. "As you know, development is ever-changing."

In the meantime, Sinatra and Pawlik are planning an office project at 1200 Jefferson, aimed at a pair of nonprofits that he would not yet identify because the discussions aren't final. Tentative plans call for a three-story, 40,000-square-foot building, between Northampton and Eaton streets, but Pawlik would not say if it would include just administrative functions or services as well.

"This announcement will be made public in the next few weeks," Pawlik said. "We're not out there publicly with this yet because we're fine-tuning everything with our two not-for-profits."

As part of the new project, the duo are seeking to demolish a nondescript one-story block building on the site that formerly housed a dry cleaner business. According to their application to the Buffalo Preservation Board, the steel-frame manufacturing property "is in significant disrepair" and "has little architectural value," although it dates to the 1940s.

Another building on the site would also have to come down, Pawlik said. "They're grossly underutilized, nothing historically significant," he said. "But that allows us to move our agenda forward."

The Preservation Board will meet at 3 p.m. on Thursday, on the ninth floor of City Hall.

The new medical building would be sandwiched between two other projects being developed by Sinatra and Pawlik. The pair are teaming up with nonprofit social services agency People Inc. for a $21 million housing development at 1160 Jefferson, with 84 units and retail space in two three-story buildings. That project is located just one block to the south of the proposed new nonprofit building, and site work will begin next week.

Meanwhile, immediately to the north, a Northwest Savings Bank is now under construction, with completion and opening slated for the end of November.

'Medical mall' is latest in push to revive once-thriving Jefferson Avenue


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