Buffalo’s Kleinhans Music Hall getting $9 million upgrade

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Construction has started on a $21 million renovation project at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo. Work will upgrade and refurbish the national historic landmark and prevent further deterioration.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced $8 million in FY 2023 budget funding for the project, in addition to up to $1 million in grants approved by Empire State Development.

“For decades, Kleinhans Music Hall has drawn visitors with its reputation for being one of the finest concert halls in the world,” said Hochul. “This project allows us to continue to make Kleinhans a modern welcoming place.”

The venue, located on Symphony Circle, has served Western New York for 82 years and is considered an economic engine for the region. It is owned by the City of Buffalo and managed by Kleinhans Music Hall Management Inc., a not-for-profit.

The iconic hall was built in 1939, designed by Eliel and Eero Sarrinen, and is home to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Babel Series, and Buffalo Chamber and Music Society.

After decades of use, virtually every corner of the Kleinhans building needs repair or support, including its exterior, interior, plumbing, roof, basement, electrical, doors, public safety and HVAC. The first phase of the project will include:

  • Completion of an entirely new roof (current is 40 years old).
  • New central steam boiler/vacuum condensate return system upgrade to efficient modular steam boilers.  Makeup water systems will be purchased and installed.
  • Upgrade heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems. Major equipment components and control systems will require replacement: New exhaust fans and ducts; steam traps throughout; front end BMS controllers; main auditorium HVAC; Livingston Hall and basement air handling units.
  • General building system. A new liner for the reflecting pool will be installed. Windows will be replaced. Painting and plastering throughout will be scheduled throughout the project timeline.

The project also includes updating water, electric, and gas management to provide greater efficiencies saving dollars and natural resources.

“This renovation project will strengthen the overall arts community in Erie County and also play an important role in the continued revitalization of our local economy,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “Preserving and enhancing this historic structure is a wise investment.”

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