Buffalo Central Terminal Update

Chuck Maley's Central Terminal picturesA while back, I post­ed about a piece of archi­tec­tur­al won­der­ment lying van­dal­ized and dor­mant in Buffalo—the old Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal. It’s a beau­ti­ful Deco train sta­tion from the 1920s, plopped into an oth­er­wise unex­cep­tion­al sub­ur­ban neigh­bor­hood.

At the time the sta­tion was built, Buf­fa­lo was still an indus­tri­al and cul­tur­al cen­ter, with a pop­u­la­tion over one-half mil­lion. It was sec­ond only to Chica­go for its tan­gling rail net­work. How­ev­er, by the late 1970s, both the city and the sta­tion had seen bet­ter days. The sta­tion was board­ed up, and the trains instead stopped at a new, strip-mall like park­ing-lot sta­tion not far away.

Well, there is some good news… it seems that some peo­ple do care about pre­serv­ing the city’s her­itage. Despite its van­dal­ized and trashed inte­ri­or, the build­ing is draw­ing crowds—including some Cana­di­an urban explor­ers.

What I love about struc­tures like the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal is that they were built for the pub­lic to use. It’s absolute­ly unthink­able to imag­ine pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions build­ing such pub­lic spaces today—I think those years have passed, (as have the years of ridicu­lous­ly cheap immi­grant labor).

Here’s hop­ing there is a devel­op­er out there with deep pock­ets and a cre­ative will.

The Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal at a glance:

  • The Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal opened four months before the Wall Street crash of 1929
  • Designed to han­dle an antic­i­pat­ed Buf­fa­lo pop­u­la­tion of 1.5 mil­lion, it cost $14 mil­lion to build
  • The 17-sto­ry office tow­er stands 271 feet high
  • The sta­tion closed in Octo­ber 1979 after years of dwin­dling rail pas­sen­ger ser­vice
  • A 1969 study esti­mat­ed it would cost $54 mil­lion to restore it for office use, and $16.3 mil­lion to demol­ish it

10 Responses to “Buffalo Central Terminal Update”


  • Novem­ber 21, 2003

    Lis­ten­ing to Nation­al Pub­lic Radio this morn­ing, it was report­ed that the Preser­va­tion Coali­tion of Erie Coun­try has placed Buffalo’s Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Build­ing on their list as the eighth most like­ly build­ing to be demol­ished.

    I find this state­ment some­what dis­con­cert­ing since the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Restora­tion Cor­po­ra­tion has achieved remark­able suc­cess with extreme­ly lim­it­ed funds and now the Preser­va­tion Coali­tion of Erie Coun­try has decid­ed to step for­ward?

    The Preser­va­tion Coali­tion of Erie Coun­try has stat­ed that they “may have access to funds to help pre­serve the build­ing.” Where the hell have these peo­ple been for the last twen­ty-years?

    I hope this state­ment is true since most of their “accom­plish­ments” I have seen is hin­drance and delay­ing instead of preser­va­tion. If this orga­ni­za­tion has access to funds, why aren’t they prep­ping build­ings for ren­o­va­tion? Such as repair­ing the roofs against leak­age, remov­ing win­dows to allow ven­ti­la­tion and secur­ing the street lev­el against van­dals. Per­haps, even going so far as to remov­ing asbestos mak­ing the prop­er­ty tru­ly accept­able to a poten­tial client or buy­er.

    It is not my inten­tion of play­ing the role of the antag­o­nist in this mat­ter but I would tru­ly like to see some­thing hap­pen to this mag­nif­i­cent build­ing.

    In fact, I have even out­lined a fea­si­ble con­cept of res­ur­rect­ing the build­ing and plac­ing it back into accept­able, prac­ti­cal use. In brief, use the main lob­by as a Tops Inter­na­tion­al Super­mar­ket. Ren­o­vate the tow­er into con­do­mini­ums since I tru­ly believe that there are peo­ple who would like to own a piece of his­to­ry thus chan­nel mon­e­tary funds into the project.

    And, if I may extrap­o­late, con­sid­er ren­o­vat­ing the for­mer bag­gage claim and post office area into a com­bi­na­tion res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial space. Plus, a real vision­ary may con­sid­er using the for­mer con­course and track plat­forms as “patio homes” which are becom­ing pop­u­lar with the “emp­ty nesters.” The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less and the result­ing good may be the replace­ment of East Buffalo’s decay­ing hous­ing stock.

    These replaced home could be demol­ished and the prop­er­ty turned over to the Olm­stead Parks Com­mis­sion and areas adja­cent to the many church­es and cathe­drals in East Buf­fa­lo could be used as clois­ters or sim­ply places for med­i­ta­tion.

    My con­cepts are not over the top of real­ism, but prac­ti­cal and all we need is some­one with enough polit­i­cal clout to start the prover­bial ball rolling.

  • This build­ing is one of the many won­der­ful and his­toric places in this city. It offers a glimpse into the past when Buf­fa­lo was a thriv­ing metrop­o­lis. There has got to be more peo­ple out there like us, that believe there is a bet­ter fate for this beat­i­ful struc­ture. Even in its cur­rent con­di­tion its true beau­ty shines through. It would tru­ly be a crime if this build­ing was destroyed, and unfair to future gen­er­a­tions that could use it as a glimpse into the past of this won­der­ful city

  • I would like to cor­rect some of Mr Williams mis­con­cep­tions. I am the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Preser­va­tion Coali­tion of Erie Coun­ty and the founder and past pres­i­dent of the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Restora­tion Cor­po­ra­tion.

    The Preser­va­tion Coali­tion has been involved with the Ter­mi­nal for many years. We helped to have it list­ed on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places and have orga­nized sev­er­al clean-ups. I per­son­al­ly acquired the build­ing from the pri­or own­er and set up the non-prof­it Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Restora­tion Cor­po­ra­tion, now led by Rus­sel Pawlak,

    The sto­ry Mr Williams heard was actu­al­ly about the Ter­mi­nal being placed on the “Sev­en to Save” list of the Preser­va­tion League of New York State. The list­ing did not indi­cate that the Ter­mi­nal is in immi­nent dan­ger of being demol­ished but rather should have statewide and nation­al atten­tion devot­ed towards restor­ing the build­ing.

    The Preser­va­tion Coali­tion (www.PreservationCoalition.org) is not a fund­ing orga­ni­za­tion, but a local mem­ber­ship group devot­ed to help­ing pre­serve West­ern New York’s archi­tec­tur­al her­itage. We get build­ings des­ig­nat­ed as land­marks, do tours and lec­tures and pro­vide infor­ma­tion to indi­vid­u­als and busi­ness­es.

    The list­ing of the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal on the “Sev­en to Save” list was done with the per­mis­sion of the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Restora­tion Cor­po­ra­tion in order to attract more atten­tion to the Ter­mi­nal.

    All of the mea­sures that he men­tions in his note, repair­ing the roofs against leak­age, remov­ing win­dows to allow ven­ti­la­tion, secur­ing the street lev­el against van­dals and remov­ing waste have been done. Over 500 tons of debris have been removed from the build­ing and it has been reopened to the pub­lic for tours.

    While his ideas such as a super­mar­ket or con­do­mini­ums may be good, it takes more than good ideas but an indi­vid­ual or orga­ni­za­tion with the cap­i­tal to car­ry it out. If any­one knows of such a group which might be inter­est­ed, please have them con­tact me at ScottField@PreservationCoalition.org.

    For the lat­est infor­ma­tion on the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal, vis­it our web site at
    http://www.BuffaloCentralTerminal.org

  • I stand cor­rect­ed by Mr. Fields and I shall attempt to make amends by apol­o­giz­ing for my mis­con­cep­tions and open­ly admit­ting that I mis­un­der­stood Nation­al Pub­lic Radios’ news address that con­cerned the Preser­va­tion League of New York State and not the Preser­va­tion Coali­tion of Erie Coun­ty.

    I shall quote cor­rect­ly: “The Preser­va­tion League of New York State select­ed the ter­mi­nal as one of this year’s sev­en most endan­gered prop­er­ties, mean­ing its wor­thy of spe­cial atten­tion to secure its future.”

    How­ev­er, my state­ments on how to secure his­toric build­ings was not meant sole­ly for the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal but for all derelict prop­er­ties through­out the City of Buf­fa­lo. I am ful­ly aware of the fact that the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal has been cleaned-up of debris and the win­dows have been sealed because I have assist­ed in that very process. I give full cred­it of that daunt­ing task to the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Restora­tion Cor­po­ra­tion and not the Preser­va­tion Coali­tion of Erie Coun­ty.

    Fur­ther­more, I have approached Tops Cor­po­ra­tion, Iska­lo Devel­ope­ment, Ben­der­son Devel­op­ment and Ciminel­li Con­struc­tion with my pro­pos­al for con­vert­ing the main build­ing into an inter­na­tion­al super­mar­ket to ser­vice the entire com­mu­ni­ty and con­vert­ing the tow­er into con­do­mini­ums. Per­haps not a nov­el con­cept but a hell of a lot more prac­ti­cal than some of the var­i­ous oth­er ideas that I have read such as a train muse­um.

    I even attempt­ed reversed psy­chol­o­gy with Ben­der­son Devel­op­ment sug­gest­ing that they may pos­si­bly make amends after their wan­ton destruc­tion of the Mid-City Build­ing by res­ur­rect­ing the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Build­ing.

    In an area like East Buf­fa­lo where pride is spo­ken of but not nor­mal­ly adhered too and appalling con­di­tions are blamed on one select group of peo­ple, I believe the only approach is one of total­ly prac­ti­cal­i­ty.

    All of this, with no fan­fare or acco­lades to no avail but per­haps, just per­haps, Mr. Fields I may have instilled an idea into some future entrepreneur?s head.

  • Grant­ed, I do not know much about the ter­mi­nal, but right now I live near it. It is now 2004, and I haven’t seen much done either.

    It’s a won­der­ful build­ing and should be saved, but some­thing does need to be done.

    On a windy day, like today (3/5/04), you can hear the build­ing moan, when things move in it.

    That is dan­ger­ous for the area. I have seen ear­ly pic­tures of it, and it was a mar­velous place. I’m sure Buf­fa­lo, and Erie Coun­ty can bring that back.

  • Kel­ly Law,

    Final­ly, anoth­er voice of rea­son instead of the usu­al pos­tur­ing from the Preser­va­tion League of Erie Coun­ty or the Cam­paign for Buf­fa­lo whose mot­to should read: ?Save every­thing, even at the expense of cost­ing the entire region pos­si­ble employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties.?

    This web­site is excel­lent and I only wish more peo­ple with com­mon sense would use it as an elec­tron­ic soap box on the need to pre­serve our build­ings that are worth pre­serv­ing. Instead, we read the ?toot­ing of one?s own horn? on the achieve­ment of obtain­ing the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Build­ing from the pre­vi­ous own­er.

    Excuse me, but I am sure that the pre­vi­ous own­er was more than hap­py to dump the build­ing after he stripped it of all of it?s Art Deco embell­ish­ments, cop­per gut­ters and any oth­er items of val­ue, scrap or oth­er­wise.

    Since you reside in the area Kel­ly, could you tell me if there is a local (East Buf­fa­lo) inter­est in the build­ing or is it just looked upon as anoth­er derelict struc­ture that should be demol­ished?

    Do you think that the African-Amer­i­can or Pol­ish-Amer­i­can mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty would be inter­est­ed in trans­form­ing the build­ing into a her­itage cen­ter or cre­at­ing a cen­tral com­mu­ni­ty with­in the build­ing even­tu­al­ly expand­ing and/or improv­ing the exist­ing area?

    I do not nor­mal­ly agree with the ?urban renew­al? men­tal­i­ty but I would not mind see­ing the major­i­ty of busi­ness build­ings that line Broad­way demol­ished and returned to green space. East Buf­fa­lo would ben­e­fit by exem­pli­fy­ing the many out­stand­ing beau­ti­ful cathe­drals that are promi­nent in the area by allo­cat­ing the prop­er­ty sur­round­ing these mag­nif­i­cent build­ings into clois­ters or places for med­i­ta­tion.

    I would like to see the Broad­way Mar­ket relo­cat­ed into the main lob­by of the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Build­ing thus becom­ing the cen­ter of the com­mu­ni­ty and per­haps focus­ing on becom­ing more as-like a co-op where the local res­i­dents would have a choice as to where to shop instead of just Tops.

    And, yes, I ful­ly real­ize that ideas are noth­ing more than ideas with­out finan­cial back­ing but how much mon­ey was wast­ed on build­ing the park­ing ramp that is the Broad­way Mar­ket today?

    East Buf­fa­lo needs to down-size from its present over-abun­dance of aging hous­ing stock where neigh­bor­hoods look like a gap­ing mouth with miss­ing teeth as neglect­ed and burned-out homes are even­tu­al­ly razed

  • Mark,

    I’m hop­ing there’s some inter­est in it. There aren’t to many peo­ple on my street, and the ones that I do talk to, are, well, I don’t know.

    I can try and get some­thing going, but I’m not sure how suc­cess­ful I’ll be.

    There are a lot of African-Amer­i­cans around here, and I know that a lot of the kids get into trou­ble. I would even like to see turned into a cen­ter for them even.

    I do agree with you about down­siz­ing this part of the city. There are so many old hous­es, build­ings, etc, that aren’t being lived in or used, and yet, there’s sup­posed to be a super­mar­ket going up on Jef­fer­son. I just don’t know about this city any­more.

  • Kel­ly,

    Sad­ly, nei­ther you or I have the polit­i­cal clout to do much about the state of the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Build­ing et. al.

    The orga­ni­za­tions that claim to take proac­tive roles are most­ly talk and very lit­tle is actu­al­ly accom­plished oth­er than cre­at­ing a legal mess over a build­ing that even­tu­al­ly is demol­ished, as like the Vernor’s Build­ing on Main Street for exam­ple.

    The “new” direc­tor of the Preser­va­tion Coali­tion appears to be anoth­er auto­crat­ic “toot­ing of his own horn type” and I shall include an email I sent to him recent­ly that was, nat­u­ral­ly, ignored.

    God for­bid any­one should ques­tion the elit­ist group of preser­va­tion­ists…

    Dear Mr. Scott Field,

    I am not ful­ly aware of how exact­ly the Preser­va­tion Coali­tion of Erie Coun­ty gen­er­ates funds to main­tain oper­a­tion and I would have to believe that there must be oth­er sources of rev­enue oth­er than dona­tions from mem­bers.

    Keep­ing the pre­ced­ing state­ment in mind, I am won­der­ing why your web­site newslet­ter is not more thor­ough­ly updat­ed. The occa­sion­al addi­tion of infor­ma­tion is added but the exist­ing infor­ma­tion is sim­ply “pushed to the bot­tom of the page” and nev­er updat­ed.

    The Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal “call for vol­un­teers” is ful­ly accept­able and I hope that your orga­ni­za­tion will spare some future “page space” for this years clean-up efforts and per­haps clar­i­fy as to whether or not the restora­tion cor­po­ra­tion has any agen­da in seek­ing out a pos­si­ble future care­tak­er for the build­ing. Such as the Amer­i­can Indi­an Asso­ci­a­tion that was, appar­ent­ly, con­sid­er­ing the build­ing for an ath­let­ic cen­ter.

    The build­ing at 644 Michi­gan is going to be demol­ished. How­ev­er, the sig­nage and cast iron columns will be res­cued for pos­ter­i­ty com­pli­ments of the Ohio based own­er.

    Kudos to the Karpe­les Man­u­script Library Muse­um for pur­chas­ing the for­mer Chris­t­ian Sci­en­tist Church on North Street.

    121 sig­na­tures on the Peti­tion to Reuse the for­mer AM&A’s Depart­ment Store Com­plex is a sad com­men­tary on our local gen­try.

    Joel Giambra is more con­cerned with the 11-mil­lion allo­cat­ed to Uni­land then the build­ing and has con­firmed the need to make the site shov­el ready…tends to make one think “whose got whose hand in whose pock­et?”

    Imag­ine if this mon­ey were used for his­toric preser­va­tion, not com­plete restora­tion, oth­er­wise eleven mil­lion would van­ish quite quick­ly. I am refer­ring to repair­ing roofs, which would be our num­ber one dam­age con­trol, remov­ing win­dows and secur­ing build­ings from van­dals and tran­sients. In oth­er words, moth­balling these build­ings for a future time when this region sees a rebirth and a true, heart­felt inter­est in the past through our archi­tec­ture and this may not hap­pen in any of our life­times, but we would be instru­men­tal in the ini­tial effort.

    I am lit­er­al­ly refer­ring to spread­ing around this eleven mil­lion to moth­ball every his­toric build­ing in the City of Buf­fa­lo that is in need of atten­tion. And, this is not a far fetch con­cept.

    The Ver­nor Build­ing is destroyed. Where are the city poli­cies in pre­vent­ing this from hap­pen­ing?

    Next year is an may­oral elec­tion year for Buf­fa­lo, do you, Mr Field have any polit­i­cal clout, affil­i­a­tion or pos­si­ble polit­i­cal ambi­tion to push Tony Masiel­lo out of the cor­ri­dors of city hall?

    Excel­lent! The 108-year-old Birge man­sion to become law offices. How about a full page pho­to ses­sion of the com­plet­ed restora­tion work that the Buf­fa­lo Phil­har­mon­ic could not afford to com­plete?

    Rich Prod­ucts May Donate Church to Preser­va­tion Coalition…Update? Has this occurred yet and, if so, what are the Preservation’s plans, if any?

    State Calls for Preser­va­tion Par­tic­i­pa­tion Nia­gara Square Fed­er­al Cour­t­house. The cour­t­house has been place on a two-year delay. The project is as good as dead. Typ­i­cal Fed­er­al maneu­ver when funds have been over-spent on oth­er cour­t­house projects across the coun­try.

    Preser­va­tion Coali­tion Prais­es Judge’s Deci­sion on Richard­son Com­plex.

    Ancient news, and we all know that absolute­ly noth­ing is being “sta­bi­lized” unless you con­sid­er a chain link fence “sta­bi­liz­ing.” Yet, anoth­er sad com­men­tary on our politi­cians both local and state.

    Two-years ago I sug­gest­ed to Tim Tiel­man that the com­plex be used as a skilled nurs­ing facil­i­ty with each indi­vid­ual sec­tion ren­o­vat­ed as space is required for our future aging baby boomer pop­u­la­tion. The “tow­er sec­tion” would remain admin­is­tra­tion and ren­o­vat­ed first fol­low­ing with the indi­vid­ual seg­ment­ed build­ings. HH Richardson’s design for fire pro­tec­tion would allow indi­vid­ual build­ing ren­o­va­tion in stages that could be spread out over a num­ber of years. Pro­vid­ing skilled nurs­ing will be a high­ly sought after com­mod­i­ty in the next twen­ty-years and gen­er­ate a huge source of mon­ey.

    I can not fath­om that I am the only per­son read­ing your web­site and pon­der­ing these same issues, or, am I?

    Regards,

    Mark Williams

  • I know that this site is for the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal but I believe that we need to check the pulse of our oth­er archi­tec­tural­ly sig­nif­i­cant build­ings.

    There­fore, I would like to intro­duce the HH Richard­son Com­plex to this site as well with my response to the most recent court rul­ing con­cern­ing the build­ings preser­va­tion.

    I will apol­o­gize for repeat­ing myself but I am attempt­ing to dri­ve a few points home.

    The Appel­late Divi­sion of State Supreme Court has ruled on tech­ni­cal grounds that New York State does not have to main­tain the his­toric H.H. Richard­son Com­plex. The recent rul­ing rep­re­sents a vic­to­ry for the admin­is­tra­tion of Gov. George E. Pata­ki, which had appealed a Novem­ber 2002 rul­ing in State Supreme Court that could have forced repairs to oth­er his­toric struc­tures as well.”

    This quote, tak­en from a recent edi­to­r­i­al from the Buf­fa­lo News, is a sad com­men­tary on our polit­i­cal lead­ers con­cern­ing our archi­tec­tur­al trea­sures. Not only is this a slap in the face to all of us preser­va­tion­ist in West­ern New York, it is a major step back­wards con­cern­ing all his­toric build­ings in need of preser­va­tion. Account­abil­i­ty has been removed and emp­ty promis­es by our Gov­er­nor ring hol­low:

    Regard­less of the court’s deci­sion, the bot­tom line is that Gov. Pata­ki has made clear the revi­tal­iza­tion of the H.H. Richard­son Com­plex is a major pri­or­i­ty,”

    If this is true, than why have the orig­i­nal court deci­sion repealed? And, if the aver­age read­er were to read fur­ther as to what exact­ly the restora­tion process includes, it would make us all pon­der as to where all of the allot­ted funds are being spent.

    A con­cern of some preser­va­tion­ists is whether sta­bi­liza­tion funds will be used for the complex’s brick build­ings. A 2002 study esti­mat­ed $7 mil­lion was need­ed to seal all the build­ings. But while those funds are being put to use, sta­bi­liza­tion work begun last fall by the state Dor­mi­to­ry Author­i­ty exclud­ed the brick build­ings.”

    To clar­i­fy, this means that the West wing, which is still ful­ly intact and rep­re­sents HH Richardson’s orig­i­nal design, is to be left in it’s present dete­ri­o­rat­ed con­di­tion. Amaz­ing­ly, the East wing, com­posed entire­ly of Med­i­na sand­stone, was par­tial­ly demol­ished and the remain­ing build­ings were “remod­eled” as office space some­time in the ear­ly 1980’s. Hav­ing had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to tour the East wing, I ques­tion how much sta­bi­liz­ing is actu­al­ly required. Where­as, the West wing has been unused since the 1960’s and is lit­er­al­ly col­laps­ing upon itself in sev­er­al loca­tions.

    Inci­den­tal­ly, the rea­son why the East wing is made of Med­i­na sand­stone and the West is made of brick is because the project, in 1874, was a major cost over­run by the state and the “cheap­er” brick was sub­sti­tut­ed to defer fur­ther cost over­run. Our polit­i­cal lead­ers seem to still be from the same schools read­ing the same books after one-hun­dred and thir­ty-years.

    Clau­dia Hut­ton, Dor­mi­to­ry Author­i­ty spokes­woman, said Tues­day that bids for work lat­er in the year are main­ly being direct­ed at the sand­stone build­ings.
    “We start­ed at the core, because that’s the sig­na­ture build­ing of the Richard­son com­plex,” Hut­ton said. “Then you go out­ward.”
    Hut­ton said the brick build­ings would main­ly begin to get atten­tion after the sand­stone build­ings are sta­bi­lized, and then only if mon­ey per­mits.”

    Again, I find this state­ment almost sur­re­al since the admin­is­tra­tion build­ing was part of the cir­ca 1980’s remod­el­ing project and I ques­tion (again) how much sta­bi­liza­tion is tru­ly required. I am con­vinced that a cer­tain amount of decep­tion is being played out to the gen­er­al pub­lic in order to pla­cate while “demo­li­tion by neglect” is allowed to man­i­fest itself in the sec­tions of the com­plex that require the actu­al sta­bi­liza­tion.

    We all know that absolute­ly noth­ing is being “sta­bi­lized” unless you con­sid­er a chain link fence “sta­bi­liz­ing.” Yet, anoth­er sad com­men­tary on our politi­cians both local and state.

    Two-years ago I sug­gest­ed to Tim Tiel­man that the com­plex be used as a skilled nurs­ing facil­i­ty with each indi­vid­ual sec­tion ren­o­vat­ed as space is required for our future aging baby boomer pop­u­la­tion. The “tow­er sec­tion” would remain admin­is­tra­tion and ren­o­vat­ed first fol­lowed with the indi­vid­ual seg­ment­ed build­ings. HH Richardson’s design for fire pro­tec­tion would allow indi­vid­ual build­ing ren­o­va­tion in stages that could be spread out over a num­ber of years

    As for sta­bi­liza­tion funds, per­haps the 11-mil­lion allo­cat­ed to Uni­land Devel­op­ment for the pur­chase and demo­li­tion of the for­mer AM&A’s build­ing should be re-direct­ed towards a gen­er­al blan­ket­ing of build­ing preser­va­tion. Imag­ine if this mon­ey were used for his­toric preser­va­tion, not com­plete restora­tion, oth­er­wise eleven mil­lion would van­ish quite quick­ly. I am refer­ring to repair­ing roofs, which would be our num­ber one dam­age con­trol, remov­ing win­dows and secur­ing build­ings from van­dals and tran­sients. In oth­er words, moth­balling these build­ings for a future time when this region sees a rebirth and a true, heart­felt inter­est in the past through our archi­tec­ture and this may not hap­pen in any of our life­times, but we would be instru­men­tal in the ini­tial effort.

    I am lit­er­al­ly refer­ring to spread­ing around this eleven mil­lion to moth­ball every his­toric build­ing in the City of Buf­fa­lo that is in need of atten­tion. And, this is not a far fetch con­cept.

    I can not fath­om that I am the only per­son pon­der­ing these same issues, or, am I?

  • The clouds of con­tro­ver­sy already begin to form in regards to Albany’s preser­va­tion attempts of the HH Richard­son Com­plex.

    The state’s pri­or­i­ties in regard to the City of Buf­fa­lo amaze me,” said John Juszkiewicz, first vice pres­i­dent of Police Benev­o­lent Asso­ci­a­tion.”

    Joseph Foley, pres­i­dent of Pro­fes­sion­al Fire­fight­ers 282, agreed. “It is a shame that when they’re threat­en­ing to cut city pro­grams and lay off fire­fight­ers, politi­cians seem to have enough mon­ey for pet projects,”

    I just wish they could have put a lit­tle more empha­sis on the neces­si­ties of life rather than the lux­u­ries.”

    State Sen. Dale M. Volk­er, R-Depew said “In all hon­esty, most of my con­stituents were extreme­ly upset. They feel it’s a build­ing, and there was a lot of feel­ing that the city and coun­ty are in trou­ble. (The issue) cre­at­ed a very unusu­al prob­lem for Buf­fa­lo and West­ern New York, in that it was an invest­ment that won’t (be real­ized) for so many years.”

    Alas, poor Juszkiewicz, Foley and Volk­er! I knew them, Hor­a­tio: a fel­low of infi­nite jest, of most excel­lent fan­cy. He hath borne me on his back a thou­sand times; and now, how abhorred in my imag­i­na­tion it is! my gorge ris­es at it.” (Ham­let par­o­dy)

    Pet projects? Lux­u­ries? Speak­ing sole­ly for myself but sure­ly echoed by many “preser­va­tion­ist at heart” the long await­ed funds have been (alleged­ly) allo­cat­ed from Albany for the preser­va­tion and restora­tion of the HH Richard­son Com­plex.

    How sad those in posi­tions of author­i­ty have already cast their naysayer’s vote, lack­ing any form of vision that this project is for the good of Buf­fa­lo and for the future of the City of Buf­fa­lo.

    The future begins today with (final­ly) pre­serv­ing our past for the next gen­er­a­tions to appre­ci­ate what the City of Buf­fa­lo has to offer in terms of what one of eight great archi­tects of the 19th cen­tu­ry designed and built through­out our fair, albeit fal­ter­ing, city.

    The HH Richard­son Com­plex was intend­ed to be the north anchor of Rich­mond Avenue and had been cast adrift by the State of New York through abject neglect. The time has come for this error to be amend­ed.

    If the state’s attempt to res­ur­rect this build­ing is thwart­ed by the sta­tus quo men­tal­i­ty of city ser­vices and politi­cians, I for one, rec­om­mend insur­rec­tion to insure that his­to­ry remem­bers this peri­od of time as a new begin­ning instead of just anoth­er failed attempt.

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