Hotel Henry Urban Resort

Buffalo, New York

Owner: Richardson Center Corporation

Project Value: $52.7 million

Completed: April 2017

Architect: Flynn Battaglia Architects

Size: 480,000 sq. ft.

In 1870, architect Henry Hobson Richardson, in collaboration with landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, designed the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. This circa-1880, 480,000 sq. ft. Medina sandstone and brick complex, situated on 48 acres, was utilized through the 1970s and then became abandoned.

Our team was awarded construction management for this adaptive reuse project into a state-of-the-art hotel and conference center in early 2013, with construction anticipated to begin that fall. However, due to budget overages a redesign took place and work began in September 2014. Our team worked with stakeholders to focus on the demolition work and restoration of the shell so interior designs could be completed. Bid packages were split to meet this need and keep construction work progressing uninterrupted.

Due to the age and complexity of this National Historic Landmark, the new mechanical installation in existing 1800s construction posed numerous structural and coordination challenges. Our team used our BIM department coordination to model mechanicals prior to installation and to help alleviate potential conflicts. With the need to add high-end amenities and technology, along with items such as five kitchens and five elevators, virtual design was used continually on coordination.

The new, full-service Hotel Henry features 88 guest rooms and suites with destination amenities. Rooms embody a variety of unique layouts, with efficient use of the Richardson Olmsted Complex’s original design. Throughout the building, Hotel Henry’s atypical spaces invite guests to explore, gather and tuck away in the unique character of this iconic building.

Named after the original 100-acre farm created by Richard Olmsted and used as part of patient therapy, 100 Acres: The Kitchens at Hotel Henry are full-service. A variety of dining options are found throughout, including incorporating spaces on the Olmsted designed and restored grounds. Hotel Henry also offers a 350-person ballroom for event and conference space. The room was originally built as a chapel before being turned into the Urban Resort Conference Center.

With an adaptive reuse project of this magnitude, unforeseen conditions were found and addressed. The existing structure in Building 44 required more stabilization than was shown in the design documents. Nearly 75% of the wood floor joists had to be replaced. Additionally, after NYSHPO’s review, they required hardwood flooring in certain spaces to adhere to preservation requirements as historic tax credits were used. Throughout, our team was flexible and adept in overcoming new challenges while keeping the budget and schedule in check.