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1280 Main St. Update: Making Restoration Progress

Spectrum Health

A late afternoon August sun begins to set behind 1280 Main St., site of Spectrum Health’s midtown Buffalo Clinic.

By Cindy Voelker, President and CEO

As Spectrum Health has made progress with the remediation of 1280 Main St., we would like to take this opportunity to provide an overall update, beginning with a brief look back at this historic Buffalo Building.

Proud History

For 120 years, a three-story, brick façade building at 1280 Main St. has proudly served the City of Buffalo.

Long known as the Otis Elevator Building, 1280 Main St. in 1955 became the headquarters of the Houdaille-Hershey Corporation, one of the country’s largest suppliers of automobile parts to Detroit manufacturers.

According to an article in Western New York Magazine, Houdaille Hershey’s “shock absorbers were so popular that it was quite common for automobile owners to go to a repair shop and ask for a new set of “Hoo-Dyes.” Ford even boasted in their advertisements that their new models came with four Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers.”

The building also served as a school at some time according to the previous owners. In the 1980’s the building began to house local behavioral health services. Spectrum rented space in the building during those years.

Critical Services Provider

Flash forward to 2015 when Spectrum Foundation purchased the building at 1280 Main St. That location has continued to serve the Buffalo community as home to Spectrum Health’s certified community behavioral health clinic; care coordination and walk-in clinic services; the Erie County Assertive Community Team, Forensic Reentry Services and OMH and HUD Supportive Housing services.

Overall, 1280 Main St. has served as the hub for critical and unique services in the urban area. These services include crisis, medication, addiction, and mental health services; and providing care to individuals re-entering the community from prison or jail, individuals mandated to services by the legal system, and individuals in high need of physical health and behavioral health care and coordination.

Once-in-a-Life-Time Storm

On Dec. 24, 2022, 1280 Main St. added to its history, albeit in a manner most negative in its outcome. On this Christmas Eve, the City of Buffalo experienced a once-in-a-life-time blizzard event, coming under a federal state of emergency and completely shutting down for several days. Extreme snow falls with drifts over six feet, wind gusts of 79 MPH and low temperatures caused extensive power outages and catastrophic damages.

The continuous flow of 129,000 gallons of water into the building over a period of 48 hours caused catastrophic interior damages.

Catastrophic Damage

Spectrum Health’s Buffalo Clinic at 1280 Main St. was directly and severely affected by this event. Wind gusts and low temperatures caused a third-floor window to break resulting in the sprinkler system lines in that area to rupture and pour approximately 129,000 gallons of water into the building over a period of 48 hours. Due to the lines rupturing on the third floor of the building, water penetrated all aspects of the structure from the top down. Every floor from wall-to-wall was saturated.

This resulted in the entire structure being rendered extremely unsafe due to indoor air quality concerns associated with mold and other severe damage.

Spectrum Health was forced to move all services, including 125 of its employees.

Phase 1 – Remediation

While demolition was an option, Spectrum Health leadership instead has decided to add to 1280 Main St.’s history by embarking on a remediation and re-building process.

As of September 2023, in partnership with general contractor Ehrhart Development Group, a full tear out of interiors and all finishes at a cost of approximately $1,100,000 is nearing completion after an expedited 8-month period. This has included – for example — removal of all asbestos materials commonly found in century-old buildings; demolition and removal of bathrooms and a steam boiler system; and removal of all lead piping and electrical wiring.

Phase 2 – Re-Building

Looking forward to the Phase 2 re-building process, priority has been placed on re-pointing and repairing the building’s exterior brick and masonry and replacing the building’s numerous decades-old single pane windows with energy efficient dual pane windows at an approximate cost of $400,000.

A decision has also been made to install a state-of-the-art “variable” heating and cooling system that will work in concert with the new windows to ensure optimum climate control on all floors of the building. The result, in addition to new energy efficiency, will be enhanced heating and cooling comfort in all employee/client work areas.

Other examples of Phase 2 re-build work on the first and second floors will include the following areas:

·      Steel, including new steel stairs

·      Wood, Plastic and Carpentry

·      Thermal and Moisture Protection, including exterior and interior walls insulation

·      Doors, and Hardware

·      Finishes, including interior painting and carpet installation

·      Specialties, including upgraded bathrooms

·      Furnishings, including installation of stove, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher appliances

·      Passenger Elevator renovations

·      Fire Suppression, Plumbing, Electrical, and Security Systems

·      IT, Data and Security

Overall, Phase 2 is estimated to take 12-18 months months at an estimated cost of $6,853,000.

Re-Building – Phase 3 and Beyond

Following completion of Phase 2 work, plans also call for the buildout of the 3rd and 4th Floors and Basement; Civil and Site Improvements; and installation of Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment.

This brings the total current estimated project cost to $14,000,000

No Disruption of Services to Clients

While Spectrum Health has been unable to provide services from its 1280 Main Street location, we have partnered with St. Vincent DePaul to relocate clinical and case management staff to the third floor of their 1298 Main St. building. Following an investment of approximately $240,000 in this space, Spectrum Health has entered into a two-year lease, with an option to continue renting on a month-to-month basis.

Our goal continues to be to maintain full operations while our building is being assessed, mitigated and repaired. Spectrum Health is here to service the community and will continue to do that as we rebuild this location.