Todd Shatkin returns with revised dental school proposal for Daemen

Amherst cosmetic dentist Todd E. Shatkin is taking his second bite at launching a new dental school for Daemen University, bringing his proposed project back to town officials for review after some minor revisions to address concerns.

Shatkin, the owner of Shatkin Dental Health, refiled his plans to redevelop the former Philipps Bros. Supply Inc. building on Kensington Avenue into the Shatkin College of Dentistry and the Institute for Mobility and Technology.

The new graduate school would be located next door to Shatkin’s dental businesses on Kensington – a dental practice, dental training and dental implant manufacturing – and would share space and staff. That would put it about a mile away from Daemen’s campus. But it would still operate as part of Daemen, and would train as many as 120 new students each year through a three-year dental surgery doctoral degree program.

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Meanwhile, the Todd and Leslie Shatkin IMIT would focus on the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative and orthopedic conditions, as well as help patients improve their ability to walk with robotic assistance.

Dr. Todd Shatkin, director of dentistry at Shatkin Dental Health, says everybody needs to go to the dentist regularly, just like you need to go to a family doctor regularly.

Both would carry Shatkin’s name as the sponsor, but instead of donating significant money to Daemen to build and launch the school on its own, he would still act as the for-profit developer on the project by investing in the buildings and equipment, which he will own or control, while the school would pay rent to him as landlord for 20 years. He has previously said he would not be involved in running or teaching at the school.

Shatkin submitted the proposal earlier this year, but withdrew the plan in response to some criticism over the project. Town planners cited problems with the proposed entrance canopy on Ridgewood Drive in back of the building, which would have hung too far out over the right-of-way.

The revised proposal pulls that back, while addressing technical issues related to parking and zoning. The new plan also incorporates more shuttling of students between the school and Daemen’s main campus.

But the substance of the $7.85 million proposal remains the same, including conversion of the stub end of Ridgewood into perpendicular parking on both sides. And it still needs to pass muster with the Planning Board, as well as the Amherst Industrial Development Agency, if he again seeks $400,000 in tax breaks for the project.

Amherst IDA members had questioned the need for a second local dental school, and suggested that the request for tax breaks was premature since Daemen had not yet obtained state certification or national accreditation for the new school. Shatkin said both applications are in the review process.

“Everything’s going very smooth, and we’re very excited about it,” he said. “Daemen’s a great partner and I’m confident we’ll get this to fruition.”

Shatkin College of Dentistry rear rendering

A rendering of the rear of the proposed new Shatkin College of Dentistry at Daemen University.


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