Substantial Construction Completed at the Richardson Olmsted Complex
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Redevelopment of National Historic Landmark wraps up intensive stage of construction after 3 years of work
Buffalo, NY – The intensive stage of construction to revitalize the Richardson Olmsted Complex (former the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane) was completed today as the last construction trailer wheeled away.
Since 2014, construction was underway to redevelop the first three of eleven buildings at this National Historic Landmark. The three buildings, including the iconic Towers Building, have been transformed into a hotel, restaurant, event space, and architecture center, all set to open in 2017. The efforts have been overseen by the Richardson Center Corporation (RCC), the non-profit owner of the site.
Remaining work before the public opening of the site will focus on finishing touches to the interiors such as installation of furniture, cabinetry, and drapery. Artwork by local artists will also be installed.
One of the largest and most complicated historic preservation projects in the nation, the total cost of stabilization, site work, landscape and redevelopment reached $102.5 million. The redevelopment is using the remaining $76.5 million in state funds and $16 million in historic tax credits via M&T Bank in a massive undertaking to modernize the Complex and find profitable uses for the monumental structure.
The $69 million for redevelopment includes:
- $17 million for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.
- $7 million to restore over 600 original windows.
- $4 million to subtly insert elevators into the historical spaces.
The completion of the intensive stage of construction today marks an important step forward in the rebirth of the Richardson Olmsted Complex.The iconic towers were built as a testament to the influence of Buffalo in the late 1800s. Today, the towers again mark a city on the rise.
Paul Hojnacki, President of the Richardson Center Corporation stated, “This towering success story stands as a testament to the many supporters who loudly proclaimed its worth over 40 years. We are very fortunate to have had the support of Governor Cuomo and the State of New York, M&T Bank, the City of Buffalo, and our neighbors in this monumental endeavor.”
The Complex is part of the $1.6 billion tourism industry in Erie County which generates $200 million in sales tax revenue - a $500 tax reduction per household. In addition, $157.3 million is added to the economy every year by nonprofit arts and culture institutions like the Richardson Olmsted Complex, supporting 29,000 full time equivalent jobs. Construction at the Complex provided 500 construction jobs with a $27.5 million payroll. The project will ultimately create approximately 75 permanent jobs with an annual payroll of $1.5 million.
The redevelopment allows the Complex to generate property and sales tax revenue in excess of $1 million dollars a year for the City of Buffalo and Erie County. Property tax and sales tax will be collected for the first time ever. The new hotel will provide an estimated $500,000 in sales/occupancy tax revenue per year and an additional $325,000 in annual sales tax revenues from guests’ direct sales.
Eight buildings of the Richardson Olmsted Complex (over 2/3 of the site) are still pending redevelopment for complementary uses. Work is underway to assess future development projects.
The RCC has launched a capital campaign to fund the budget gap for this first phase of redevelopment and future redevelopment projects. Through the generosity of the RCC’s late founder Stanford Lipsey, and his wife Judith Lipsey, the RCC has a challenge grant to encourage $5 million in giving and community support is crucial to meet this challenge. The Lipsey gift will launch to Buffalo Architecture Center and in turn the Center will be named in their honor. $2.5 million has been raised of the $5 million necessary to obtain the second $2.5 million from Stanford and Judith Lipsey. The final $2.5 million to raise will finish this first phase of development and ready for future projects.
More information about redevelopment, construction, and the campaign can be found at www.richardson-olmsted.com.