I got a chance to tour the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Innovation Center – part of the former Trico complex – to see how progress is being made on turning the building into business and lab space for the fledgling Life Sciences industry in Western New York.
It looks, um, nice. Inside it will be clean, bright and modern. I only wish they would have gone for the “Thomas Edison” open laboratory look, but with various tenants doing super-secret bio-science stuff, walls are needed. It is unclear what the exterior will eventually look like. The only things apparent were the replacement windows and a bowed-out atrium.
The Innovation Center is a 100,000 square foot, 4-story add-on adjacent to the monstrous half-million square foot, 6-story Trico building that was essentially abandoned by the late Stephen McGarvey when he took ill, but not before he had the roof taken off. Years of rainwater distributed Trico toxins throughout the building and the cost to clean up the mess means that the Innovation Center may be the only portion of the complex that is ever renovated. So we’ll have a small, nice-looking building full of state-of-the-art laboratories servicing brilliant medical minds next door to a dilapidated poisoned edifice that is in such bad shape they’ve had to cordon off the sidewalk around it for fear of falling bricks.
Urban renewal comes slowly, in very small increments, to Buffalo.