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Hundreds turn out to see plans for Women and Children's Hospital

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Interest is high into what happens at the Women and Children's Hospital site when hospital operations move to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.  Hundreds packed the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans last night to review development proposals for the Bryant Street location.

Four expensive and expensively-prepared plans were unveiled last night, as Kaleida Health listened to pitches about being the best developer for the complex when it's no longer a hospital.

The plans were similar and different: lots of retail, lots of apartments, lots of commercial space and lots of off-street parking, often underground.

"They're a little confusing," admitted Hodge Avenue resident Russell Baker.

"They started putting commercial into residential and that doesn't make me happy. Too much commercial. We don't need restaurants in this site, I don't think, and I don't think we need a hotel. What we need are more townhouses."

Cost estimates range from $80 million to around $160 million and completion dates vary, depending on complexity of the proposal.

"So, we certainly know the neighborhood. More importantly, we also understand the concerns of the immediate neighbors, community leaders and citizens in general about the future of the site," said Kaleida Senior Vice President Michael Hughes.

"While there is great excitement for the new hospital, everyone is wondering: What will happen after Children's moves. It's a good question."

Hughes says Kaleida has  been vetting the proposals and studying the cost estimates and expects to decide who develops the property complex in mid-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.