Advisory Services Panel – H.H. Richardson Complex, Buffalo, New York

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Date: May 20 – 25, 2007

Location: Buffalo, NY

Sponsor: the Richardson Center Corporation

Chair: Mike Higbee

Subject Area: Urban Design, Economic Development

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Summary of Recommendations:

At the invitation of the Richardson Center Corporation, a ULI panel was convened to study the H.H. Richardson Complex in Buffalo, New York. The sponsors were interested in addressing the current and future market opportunities for this National Historic Landmark. The panel quickly realized that with the historic value of the site, it was essential to retain and reuse the eight main residential and administrative buildings within the complex. It was also determined that the sites new and old landscape elements would continue to articulate Olmsted’s principles.

Two different site plans were created by the Advisory panel, one with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center included and one without it. Of the two scenarios, the site without the facility would create the greatest value with regard to economic development, due to a new mixed-use complex and a live/work division. It also stayed true to the historic design, by completing the “flying-geese” building formation, and had better links to the neighboring districts. The city and the Richardson Center Corporation had to search for the best possible team to help form an overall vision, provide leadership, and manage the project. Private sector developers also had to work closely with the city to ensure the accomplishment of win-win solutions on development issues. The city and the corporation had the opportunity to shape Buffalo for coming generations, thus they had to remain steadfast in their willingness to seek creative and ambitious solutions for the site.

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