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Landscaping first sign of work on Richardson complex

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File photo
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Construction is getting closer on the renewed Richardson Olmsted Complex at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.Re-use of the 500,000 square-foot complex has been in the works for years, with millions spent on upkeep as the facility faced an uncertain future. Major changes in the landscape are now underway, including roads, parking lots, lawns, and trees.

City officials are ready to approve a re-zoning of the site once it clears Erie County's process, which will clear the way for Albany to turn over the land to the corporation. 

There are some legal issues to sort out before construction can start on a $56 million project in the three central buildings designed by architect H.H. Richardson.

Richardson Center Corporation Executive Director Monica Pellegrino Faix says there is progress being made.

"Some of it has already started. We've done about $10 million in stabilization and we're working on a major landscape project between the Towers Building and Forest Avenue to create a welcoming gateway to the complex. We are working now with our architects on the design for the hotel and the event and conference space and the architecture center," Faix said.

Pellegrino Faix says the work will be visible from Forest or Elmwood as the parking lots are finished, grass goes in, and 125 new trees are planted.

When all of the legal complexities are settled, Richardson, BPC and Buffalo State will share the 90 acres of land, with construction possibly starting late this year.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.