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ECIDA to Get a Look at Proposed Catholic Health HQ

As it gets ready to begin construction on the new headquarters for Catholic Health, a Uniland Development Co. affiliate has officially filed an application with the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for a series of abatements connected with the proposed $46 million project.

The ECIDA has set a Dec. 27 public hearing on the incentives being sought by BTC Block 1/21 Inc., a Uniland affiliate, for the project. Uniland was selected by Catholic Health to build its new corporate headquarters on a four-acre, vacant parcel on Genesee Street where the Kensington Expressway ends. The parcel is commonly referred to as "Block 21" and is owned by the City of Buffalo, although Uniland has the designated developer status for the property.

Crews, this spring, are expected to start construction on a six-story, 140,000-square-foot building and adjoining three-story parking ramp. The ramp will have 700 parking spaces, enough for the 700 workers Catholic Health hopes to bring to downtown Buffalo.

The building will also serve as a training center.

Catholic Health will be consolidating functions that are now spread over eight different buildings to its new headquarters.

"This is example of a development that ties in with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus," said John Cappellino, ECIDA executive vice president. "It's key because it crosses the Kensington (expressway) into what is very important part of the urban core."

Catholic Health hopes to be in the new building by 2014.

The ECIDA public hearing is one of many municipal steps Catholic Health and Uniland must take related to the project. The full IDA board is expected to vote on the incentive package when it meets in January.

"There may be one more regulatory hurdle, but I think we already achieved that," said Joseph McDonald, Catholic Health chief executive officer. "Everything looks very promising going forward."