The Site — Past, Present, and Future
Today, the Richardson Olmsted Complex encompasses 42 acres of a 91-acre city block in Buffalo’s arts and cultural district. The area extends from Elmwood Avenue to Rees Street, on the west and east respectively, and from Rockwell Road to Forest Avenue, north to south.
The Buffalo Psychiatric Center will continue to operate on another 42 acres being retained by the NYS Office of Mental Health. About 7 acres will continue to be used by SUNY Buffalo State for the Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Clinton Center maintenance building.
Originally, the entire campus of the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane comprised 203 acres. When the site was built, the City of Buffalo gave New York State use of the property, which was then on the outskirts of the city. In 1927, the site was reduced by half to develop Buffalo State College. By the mid 1970s, the Complex was nearly vacated, patients relocated to new facilities on site, while administrative functions continued until the 1990s.
Since then, the Richardson Center Corporation has completed essential planning reports, stabilized all the Richardson buildings, re-landscaped the South Lawn, and designed a Master Plan for the Complex that provides guidance for near- and long-term reuse. Construction for the first phase of development began in October 2014 and is expected to be complete in late 2016.