BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It was the celebration of a new beginning. On Saturday the south lawn of the Richardson Olmsted Complex was unveiled.
“This is a great milestone” said Howard Zemsky, President of the Richardson Center Corporation. “It's been seven or eight years so starting to cut ribbons is a relief. Very exciting and we're looking forward to more ribbon cuttings”.
The nine acre lawn used to be two large parking lots between the complex and Forest Avenue in Buffalo. Now the lush green space is available for people to have a picnic or just go for a walk. So far, it seems to be a big hit.
“I love it. We used to come over here even before it was transformed and it's incredible right now” said Matthew Sagurney of Buffalo.
The buildings were designed in 1870 by famed architects Henry Hobson Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted. It served as a state run psychiatric ward for decades and then became mostly vacant in the 1970s. For years many lawmakers fought to restore this architectural treasure.
“Back when I was a member of the Assembly I fought hard for this. It's taken a long time and a lot of hard work from a lot of people” said Sam Hoyt, Regional President of Empire State Development.
Now that the construction for the lawn is complete, the next step is to create a boutique hotel, conference center and architectural center.
“It's all part of not only improving the economy, but improving the quality of life for people in Buffalo” said Hoyt.
A spokesperson for the Richardson Corporation Center said the project will cost about $56 million dollars. Construction should start in the spring of 2014.
With more projects on the way, the architectural heritage in Buffalo will be preserved for generations to come.
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