8:35pm

Thu May 24, 2012
Health

New $300 million medical building opens in Buffalo

The newest addition to Buffalo’s skyline has opened its doors.

The 10-story, $300 million Gates Vascular Institute/Clinical and Translational Research Center houses a state-of-the-art surgery center, research labs and a business incubator.

“This is a magnet for the region,” says Jim Kaskie, CEO of Kaleida Health. “If you’ve got issues with your heart, your brain, your arteries or veins, you want to be here.”

Kaleida Health collaborated with the University at Buffalo on the project.

A federal loan, state tax dollars and philanthropists all chipped in on the $300 million price tag, making it among the most expensive facilities of its kind in the world.

“It’s like anything in life. If you want to buy a car, build a house, buy an engagement ring, you’ve got to figure out how to pay for it,” Kaskie says. “So what you do is you go around, gather all the different sources and put it together and make the project work.”

Researchers will try to find new treatments for vascular disease. The hope is to launch a handful of new companies that will call the in-house business incubator home.

Addressing a need

Western New Yorkers suffer vascular ailments at disproportionately high rates, says L. Nelson Hopkins, chair of the Gates Vascular Institute Physician Board. 

“Why vascular disease? Heart attack, stroke, et cetera,” says Hopkins. “It is what’s killing and maiming our population: The number one cause of death. The number one cause of adult disability.”

Hopkins joked that Buffalonians could help doctors lower rates of vascular disease by eating fewer chicken wings, which were created only a block away from the new building.

Located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the building will also help recruit top-level researchers and doctors to the area, says Timothy Murphy, director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center.

“Currently, we’re in the process of recruiting,” Murphy says. “And we intend to recruit new outstanding researchers to Buffalo to populate this building.” 

Economic development officials say the new structure will also increase residential demand and attract retail businesses downtown.