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Richardson Olmsted Complex finds new purpose

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Tom Brady doesn’t have much room to talk anymore.

The Gothic twin towers of the dormant Richardson Olmsted Complex, 400 Forest Ave., Buffalo, will become a 90-room boutique hotel operated by the same owners as the Mansion on Delaware, The Buffalo News’ Mark Sommer reports.

One of Buffalo’s architecturally-supreme landmarks, the Richardson Olmsted Complex—designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1870 and completed 20 years later—has been largely without purpose since its administration building closed 20 years ago. Ardent preservationists have clung to the relic, however, and it appears their efforts have been fruitful, judging by today’s news.

By late 2015, the looming towers will evolve into a “high-tech boutique hotel,” which will serve as a conference and event center and “draw business from a 200-mile radius,” Sommer notes.

Sure, the three-year project is daunting, it’s too small to house the New England Patriots and it’ll be a while before Buffalo truly reaps the rewards of this transformation. Eventually, though, the high-end business use of the building—which will have the power to broadcast conferences globally—should enhance Buffalo’s tourism value, too.

Innvest Lodging Services, owned by Dennis Murphy and located at 300 International Dr. near Sheridan, runs the Mansion on Delaware and 18 other hotels.

The true impact of today’s Buffalo News report? It’s that a long-unused architectural gem now has a determined use, a large project that now has a perceived goal.

S.J. had the opportunity to explore the Richardson Olmsted Complex as part of the BUF Unscripted visit through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and she hinted in her gallery that there were already plans laid for a boutique hotel. Here’s her take:

Lastly, I saw the future of the Richardson Complex. The main building is in the process of being renovated, and there are big plans for the buildings to house offices, grand event halls and a boutique hotel—YEAH, you’ll be able to spend the night in a HAUNTED INSANE ASYLUM. Quaint.

Browse through Don Nieman’s gallery from the landmark as well—the Richardson Olmsted Complex blends magisterial with downright creepy.

TAGGED: boutique hotel, bufunscripted, mansion on delaware, mark sommer, national trust of historic preservation, news, richardson olmsted complex

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  1. I Choose Buffalo January 25, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    I think this is a great idea! If the building be used for something like this, they’ll continue to make improvements to it all the time.

    I Choose Buffalo's avatar