10/03/2006

BMHA - Still Pimping Neglect

Buffalo has plenty of empty places and no where does the Queen City scream vacancy more than here at the former BMHA Glenny Drive complex. I first visited in May 2005 - Revitalize This?  I went back the other day and noticed the same windows and doors were still wide open, less than 100' away from a couple baseball diamonds and playing fields and the Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence. Here's the google map. These are the urban monsters you see on the 33 on your way to work in the morning.
DSCN5367
Nothing has changed in the last 18 months. I noticed a few hundred feet of police crime tape, blowing in the wind. Something bad probably happened since my last visit. While walking around the intensely overgrown courtyard I imagined the place once looked like Peter Cooper Village & Stuyvesant Town in NYC.
Something tells me that Dr. Lydia T. Wright would have done something about the abandonment and issues confronting public health and safety at this totally abandoned BMHA complex. It appears as though Gillian Brown, BMHA's Executive Director has given up on the Glenny Drive projects. While having this colossal mess on his hands he's building additional housing.  Buffalo Rising began covering the story this past June - New Urbanist Village - describing the new development on Jefferson Avenue  at the AD Price BMHA complex.

The Diocese of Buffalo does the same thing.  Here's a new McChurch. The old ones are left behind, simply to rot. 
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8 comments:

Michele J said...

A Damn shame! For as long as I can remember back atleast 12-13 yrs they have been empty,Does anyone know how long its been?

Anonymous said...

the BMHA took proposals to redevelop this about 3-4 years ago - successful applicant was a partnership including hormouz monsouri. not sure after that...google it

BuffaloRox said...

Great reuse for this site was reported earlier this spring in Buffalo Business First. The senior citzens center would have been a great reuse and badly needed option.

http://tinyurl.com/hw5gp

fix buffalo said...

BR,

thanks...here's the text of that link...

$80M retirement community planned
Business First of Buffalo - April 14, 2006
by Annemarie Franczyk
Business First

An $80 million retirement community has been proposed to replace the empty, dilapidated Kensington Heights housing project on Buffalo's East Side.

Planned is a three-part project on the 17-acre site, owned by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, to accommodate senior citizens at any level of nursing care needed in their lifetime.

The project is being undertaken by Heritage Manor LLC, a partnership of developer and attorney John Giardino and local businessman Hormoz Mansouri.

Heritage Manor would bring to the city a style of senior living so far available only in the suburbs, while eliminating blighted public housing that abuts Erie County Medical Center, three schools and a park and is visible from the Kensington Expressway. Unoccupied for two decades, the six buildings have been a haven for criminal activity, graffiti and fires.

As a privately held for-profit entity, the retirement community also would generate about $2.5 million in annual tax revenue for Buffalo and Erie County, Mansouri estimated.

Plans call for 192 independent-living apartments for seniors who don't require nursing care, 156 assisted-living units offering some daily help like dressing or taking medication, and a 320-bed nursing home.

About 700 jobs would be created at the campus, which would include a day-care center for the convenience of workers. The project would be connected to ECMC by a roadway for easy patient transfers, when necessary.

The project is known as a continuing care retirement community, and would require state approval. There are fewer than 10 such facilities across the state, including Canterbury Woods in Amherst and Fox Run of Orchard Park, currently under construction.

Necessary paperwork has yet to be filed with the state before work can begin on the new facility.

Mansouri is president of the EI Team, a Town of Tonawanda planning and construction company, and a top political contributor. His partner, Giardino, is president of Center Stone Development LLC, which recently announced redevelopment plans for the former Adam, Meldrum & Anderson Co. store in downtown Buffalo.

Center Stone and Mansouri were selected as preferred developers of the Kensington Heights site in 2004, but Mansouri said he has been planning the project ever since he became the court-appointed caretaker of the former Manor Oak nursing home company in its last years. The Manor Oak home in Cheektowaga closed two years ago, residents moved to other facilities and the operating certificate was surrendered to the state.

Pending all regulatory approvals, Mansouri would like to get started this summer. He hopes to have the independent-living apartments ready next year and the assisted-living and nursing units open in 2008.

At least two sticking points could derail the project. One is that the partners want the city to raze the Kensington Heights towers, at an estimated cost of $5 million. Without the city's cooperation, the project could move elsewhere, Mansouri said.

Masten Councilmember Antoine Thompson, whose district includes the site, has proposed that the city amend the capital budget to cover the cost of the demolition. He said his resolution is gaining support in the Common Council.

"The city is thirsty and hungry for shovel-ready sites," Thompson said. "This is an ideal site for redevelopment."

Secondly, the project partners are cognizant of the work of the governor's Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, impaneled to evaluate the state's need for hospital and nursing home beds. The commission will make final recommendations on rightsizing the state's hospitals and nursing homes through consolidation, closure and restructuring by Dec. 1. Recommendations require approval by the governor and the state Legislature.

michele j said...

This seems to be a good plan considering the proximity to ECMC and the 33, I hope it happens

Jefferson said...

"The city is thirsty and hungry for shovel ready sites" Huh?

Anonymous said...

I grew up a half mile from here ... when I was 7 years old, the Glenny Drive apartments opened (1957). At school 61, kids from the projects suddenly showed up in my first grade class ... we were excited to see new kids, and thought they were lucky to be living in such a modern place.

In 1963, I entered the first class at Fillmore Junior High School (which would later become Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence). By now, the projects were looking a bit uninviting. The elevators smelled bad. Tough kids came from there. Didn't seem so modern.

Around 1965, the Kensington Expressway split the neighborhoods. Nobody in Albany cared that Route 33 cut right through our neighborhoodl, and Mayor Kowal snuck in and bought out a lot of land just before it was announced that the state would build the highway. This highway would be the death warrant for the neighborhood: by 1968, the low-income apartments were going begging.

Place was boarded up in the mid 1970's ... you couldn't get near there because there was a full time patrol. Guess even the patrols have been abandoned.

Anonymous said...

Nope. Not boarded up in the mid 70s. We lived there 74 to 78. Open after we moved. May have looked tough but it wasn't. I grew up there with a lot of people and the overwhelming majority of us graduated from highschool and live productive lives. Was never any gun play. No identifiable heroin or cocaine use. The adults smoked marijuana but who doesn't. Made long time freinds from Glenny.