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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