The City of Utica and Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) have selected a development group lead by Buffalo-based law firm Rupp Pfalzgraf to lead the development of a reuse plan for the St. Elizabeth Medical Center campus. The development team consists of five companies that collectively provide expertise in areas such as architecture, transportation, engineering, planning, community engagement and market feasibility.
Earlier this year, Utica and MVHS announced that they would be partnering to accelerate the redevelopment of the site. The entities will split the cost of having Rupp Pfalzgraf develop a plan for reuse. The plan will involve community engagement, take into account the surrounding neighborhood and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Rupp Pfalzgraf has played a large role in the redevelopment of Buffalo’s downtown, including its bustling medical campus. The firm also has extensive experience throughout New York State taking on the challenge of repurposing medical campuses. Some of its past projects include:
- Elmwood Crossing: The Elmwood Crossing project involves the redevelopment of the former Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. The redevelopment of the space includes 128,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The space will also have apartments, condos, townhomes, a hotel, restaurants, a gallery, health and wellness space, and green space.
- Lancaster Square at Gates Circle: The Millard Fillmore Gates project is a $33 million dollar redevelopment of the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital in Buffalo that includes residential units.
- Corning Hospital: The Corning Hospital redevelopment was a $50 million dollar project involving the demolition of a 100-year-old hospital. The hospital was replaced with a training facility for SUNY Corning Community College’s health care programs and a 130-unit residential building.
Utica and MVHS share a desire to facilitate modern development that works for the residents, businesses and posterity of South Utica. As part of the agreement, the partners included several principals for the reuse:
- Genesee Street frontage: provide a mixture of uses consistent with the Genesee Street corridor as it exists within that section of South Utica.
- Remainder of the property: provide upscale, single-family residential development with a mix of ownership styles (attached and detached).
- Scale, style and architecture reflective of the surrounding neighborhoods and commercial districts.
- Engaging public spaces, including public art, shade trees and four-season amenities that encourage outdoor gatherings, commerce/markets and recreational activities.
- Sustainable design, resource efficiency, green infrastructure and urban canopy, and preservation of natural areas.
Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri said: “The City of Utica is excited about both the opening of the Wynn Hospital and the potential for the St. Elizabeth campus. It was important that the planning process involve creative and competent professionals that involve our residents in developing an exciting plan. I think we have found a partner that is more than qualified to meet the challenge at hand. I look forward to the work we all have ahead of us.”
Mohawk Valley Health System President/CEO Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, said: “Since the announcement of the Wynn Hospital project, MVHS has been committed to finding a use for its facilities that would be vacated once the new hospital was complete. An initial study was done by MVHS, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, in 2019 to identify potential reuse of the three main MVHS campuses: St. Luke’s, St. Elizabeth and Faxton. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed many things, including the way real estate was being developed. This partnership with the City of Utica, and now Rupp Pfalzgraf, on a master re-use plan for the St. Elizabeth Campus will help evaluate options for the campus in current real estate development conditions – and is especially important as we move toward the opening on the Wynn Hospital on October 29, 2023.”