BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The twin towers of the H.H. Richardson Complex have stood watch over Buffalo’s West Side for nearly 150 years, originally built as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. More recently it was known as the old Buffalo Psychiatric Center, until it was abandoned in 1974.
Now known as the Richardson Olmsted Complex, it is a National Historic Landmark, and state officials are investing $100 million to restore the 100-acre campus in three phases-with the first of those to be the Hotel Henry Urban Resort and Conference Center, which is set to open in April, 2017.
The first thing visitors will notice when Hotel Henry opens is the new entrance, which is being built on the north side of the building, where the rear entrance used to be. Guests will enter to a new first floor lobby, and a new restaurant on the second floor called the “100 Acres”, explained Diana Principe, a partner with the Hotel Henry Urban Resort and Conference Center
“Guests on any given day can come into 100 Acres and they will be able to have a high dining experience, a low dining experience–they will be able to find just what they are looking for on that given day.”
Also set to open next year with the Hotel Henry is the Buffalo Architecture Center, a celebration of all the masters who designed Buffalo’s treasures, including the Richardson Complex itself.
“All the greats like Henry Hobson Richardson, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, learn about Frederick Law Olmsted,” said Monica Pellegrino Faix, the Executive Director for the Richardson Center Corp. “Where else in the country can you come and learn about everybody, and then go out and see it yourself?”
But the real show stopper at the Hotel Henry is shaping up to be the grand ballroom on the fourth floor. With its cavernous 25’ high ceiling, Principe says they are already getting inquiries from brides-to-be for their wedding receptions, even though the opening is still a year off.
“This building is iconic to Buffalo and so many people are excited, so excited about the opportunity to actually begin their married life, have a wedding reception right here at Hotel Henry in the Richardson Olmsted Complex.”
Pellegrino said, the restored complex is also being laid out to flow into and out of the surrounding neighborhood, “Many people come here and say ‘my aunt lived here, I remember visiting my cousin,’ and they have a lot of experiences to relate, and that is all part of the rich history of this site.”
There are 5 new elevators being built into the hotel, all from the ground up, which is a pleasant change from the steep winding stairs that visitors have to endure now. To accomodate updated fire and building codes, while preserving the building’s original design, the Hotel Henry features 28 different styles for its 88 boutique guest rooms.
For more information on the happenings at the Richardson Olmsted Complex, click on the Richard Olmsted link to their website. For more information on the Hotel Henry, click on the link to the Hotel Henry website.