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New veterinary school envisioned for Buffalo, N.Y.

Developer selected to build facility on former human hospital site.
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Oct 01, 2012

The former Millard Filmore Gates Circle Hospital site in Buffalo, N.Y., will be transformed into a veterinary school if recently adopted plans move forward as intended.

Kaleida Health, the largest health care provider in Western New York, selected Chason Affinity, a real estate development company, to develop the former hospital site into a new school of veterinary medicine with selective demolition, adaptive reuse and historic preservation, for a total estimated project cost of $65 million, according to an Aug. 28 Kaleida press release.

Chason Affinity's proposal was one of 16 submitted in the bidding process for the 10-acre site. The other proposal would have removed all the buildings and created a residential property, says Mark Cushing, JD, a partner at Tonkon Torp law firm and part of the Chason Affinity development team.

"Chason Affinity's proposal is visionary, is a good reuse of the hospital and can bring tremendous economic impact to our community," says James R. Kaskie, president and CEO of Kaleida Health. "While there is much work still to be done by the developer, we are very excited for the community about this unique opportunity."

Cushing told DVM Newsmagazine that what's envisioned for the project is a veterinary school and local colleges' undergraduate pre-veterinary programs moving there to create a large consortium for animal health.

"The rich talent and diversity of a veterinary school brings enormous benefits and spin-offs for a community," says Mark Chason, president of Chason Affinity, in the press release. "Over 50 percent of America's pets receive no regular veterinary care, so there continues to be a need for veterinarians. As baby boomer veterinarians retire, this need will only grow."

Cushing says it is likely there will also be a small animal hospital as part of the site, and Chason Affinity is excited for the project to begin.