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Sign of the Times

The former Gallagher Printing building at 2497 Delaware Avenue near Tacoma Avenue is a pile of rubble.  Western New York Immediate Care demolished the charming building to construct a 7,400 sq.ft. urgent care facility.  One positive from the demo is the uncovering of a Buffalo Trust Company sign painted on the Frank’s Sunny Italy building next door. 

2497-2.jpgThe hand-painted sign appears to be from the late 20’s or mid 30’s.  There is no more Cusack Co. or Buffalo Trust Company.  The sign has been covered by the old printing building for about 75 years.  It is unknown if the new urgent care facility will again entomb the sign. 

2497 Delaware Holdings, LLC/Western New York Immediate Care is owned by Exigence North America, LLC.  The company currently operates three urgent care centers in WNY.  Board certified physicians provide acute illness and injury care for patients not wanting to visit a hospital emergency room and whose primary care doctors are unavailable.

Photos by RoBear
2497 Delaware.bmp


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Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  1. Ya, LI2Northpark, I came into this post looking for pictures of the future building. It could look pretty nice. I hope it’ll at least be on the road with parking in the back.

  2. I agree with Steel on this one, while the building may not be architecturally/historically significant it is still part of the urban fabric of a traditional city which focuses on the pedestrian and not the automobile. The previous building is properly scaled and blends in seemingly with the surrounding character of the neighborhood.
    The new design will more than likely have parking in the front or the rear, prioritizing the automobile rather than the pedestrian which makes for an unenjoyable urban experience. See Traditional Neighborhood Design for the way a proper city should be built in order to promote good design and puts the focus on the pedestrian rather than the automobile.
    Depending on how you feel/think the future of cities should look to the past of walkable spaces because if gas continues to go up, more and more people will likely look to alternative sources of transportation like biking or walking. Also a properly designed dense neighborhood will become desirable once again, with residents being able to have access to most of life’s necessities within a 10 to 15 minute walk.
    End of my rant…

  3. Do we even know what the planned urgent care facility will look like, or its siting on the lot? Should we be shouting “AMHERST AMHERST AMHERST!” before we see the plans?
    That being said, the Gallagher Printing building was a fairly urban two-story mercantile structure which complemented the structure Frank’s is in. It’s the kind of structure that, unfortunately, is not as common in Buffalo as you might think; the less substantial and solid house-like frame structures with commercial storefronts and houses with projecting storefront additions are far more common. If the new structure is a one-story purpose-built building that will be nearly impossible to adapt for any other kind of use, or worse, something with parking in the front, then let’s rampage with some pitchforks and torches.

  4. I saw the plan and rendering at a public hearing last year. It is a duplicate of what they built in Greece – a one-story, single-use, purpose-built building clad in dryvit, cinderblock, “cultured stone”, and reflective glass. The original plan had the building built to the sidewalk (as required by the zoning code) but the front door facing south into the parking lot. They didn’t even have a connection from the sidewalk to the front door! The Delaware Avenue elevation was just a blank wall with a stripe of reflective glass windows.
    A week or two ago the planning board approved a modified design that has the door facing Delaware, but I haven’t seen the new design myself.
    An urgent care center in North Buffalo is a great idea, but there’s no reason it couldn’t occupy a currently-existing building, or a new build with a more urban-appropriate design. The new Iskalo building in Kenmore on Delaware and Hazeltine fits its urban context very nicely and has a primary care practice on the second floor.

  5. you are incorrect. Lifetime Health has a wonderful Urgent Care center on Main Street near Allen. They are open every day til 10:30 pm and have been there for years. I also believe the Evergreen Health Services near Elmwood and Chippewa and the Urban Family Practice on Niagara near Jersey provide some type of walk-in urgent care services- and those are just the ones that I know of near me. There are probably more. I’m not sure if you just said there were no urgent care centers in the city because it suits your argument, or if you really just didn’t know. Either way, there certainly is urgent care in the city.

  6. The Preservation Board voted to deny the demolition of Gallagher Printing. Unfortunately since the building is not landmarked, the Board can only make a recommendation.
    The shame is that the building individually is not particularly distinguished, but one by one they are disappearing. Soon Delaware between Amherst Street and Kenmore Ave will look no different than Sheridan Dr.
    The other diappointment is the design of the new building.
    It is a typical developer 20 year dry-vit POS.Although the parking is not in front of the building it is to the side creating a huge gap in Delaware ave.
    A semi creative architect could have come up with a creative reuse of the printing building and incorporated it into the new facility….such a shame.

  7. jsmith> a one-story, single-use, purpose-built building clad in dryvit, cinderblock, “cultured stone”, and reflective glass.
    Okay. Let me grab my pitchfork.

  8. Where you see loss, I see opportunity. Years ago, I used to cut right next to this building to get to the ball diamond at School 81. The building was a ugly piece of sh*t then, and remained an ugly piece of sh*t until the very end. Good riddance.

  9. r-k>”Unfortunately since the building is not landmarked, the Board can only make a recommendation.”
    I’d say it’s fortunate, not unfortunate, that the Pres Board doesn’t have dictatorial power.
    The Pres Board is unelected and thus much less accountable to the people than the Common Council who decided not to forbid the demo (if forbidding demo for this building would even be legal – but perhaps legality isn’t a concern to the Pres Board when it makes recommendations).
    r-k>”Soon Delaware between Amherst Street and Kenmore Ave will look no different than Sheridan Dr.”
    Maybe so, and that section of Delaware is drawing by far the most shoppers of any part of the city. Some city residents are voting with their feet and wallets in favor of this.
    Trying to force 100% of the city to be in the style of Elmwood Village or Allentown would mean even more city residents more often would drive to the burbs.
    It’s a positive for Buffalo to have a mix that in some parts can include some “Sheridan” style development. That section of Delaware is as good a place as any for it.

  10. r-k-tekt: Delaware Avenue north of Hertel was always pretty bad. My Dad lived in this area (Tacoma west of Delaware) in the 1950s, and remembers it as a collection of assorted uses without the synergy of Hertel Avenue. Taverns, industrial/electrical supply stores, LOTS of tacky used car dealers like what’s seen on Bailey Avenue north of Delavan, and a few apartment buildings and stray two-flats.
    The problem: the stretch of Delaware between the Belt Line and Kenmore Avenue only started to develop in the mid-1920s, and was only half built out when the Depression hit. 20-plus years later, after development resumed, it took on the suburban form that was then popular.

  11. It’s unfortunate to lose these types of structures. However, you can’t expect this urgent care facility to put architectural significance as a top priority. In this economy, with more scarce development and resources, companies and business are going to focus on their main goals. In this case, it is how to best provide efficient urgent care to an area that needs it while limiting the bottom line. This building unfortunately does not fit their needs, you can’t blame them for that and they are not evil for demolishing it. If you fought to have every new business set up shop in a rehabbed structure, you would very quickly end up with a city semi-full of old, possibly historic structures with character… that are completely abandoned and have no interested developers that the city would be forced to “manage” and eventually demolish themselves. Oh, wait… There is a vast difference between preserving Buffalo’s history and failing to allow future development to reshape neighborhoods. Buffalo will never again look like it did at the turn of the century, ever. The question is, what will it’s neighborhoods and communities look like two, three or four decades from now. The services provided by this urgent care center will help keep people in this neighborhood far more than an empty building that some people think would make this block look nicer on a postcard.

  12. No, I just really didn’t know. Glad to know about the center on Main. I do know the Head physician at the Urban Family Practice pretty well and would never go there.

  13. You would be correct, I have not studied reuse. I have had quite a bit of experience converting existing Medical offices into EMR compatible facilities as well as general experience updating medical offices to meet the needs of the time. I can only imagine the amout of updating the wiring, floor plan and structure would need in order to house an efficient Medical facility. I was stating my opinion which is pretty much what everyone here does.
    I take it you have quite a bit of knowledge in the area of reuse. How much do you imagine it would cost to convert the old building into one which would have met the needs of the Urgent Care Facility? I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything. I could very well have been wrong, but I just don’t see how that building would have worked.

  14. Actually LI2Northpark.. the Lifetime Health Mosher Center, as well as their Amherst, W Seneca, and Hamburg Health Centers, are owned by the same company that owns Univera, and see a majority of privately insured patients… not that it would matter if they saw majority Medicaid. They are most certainly not a walk-in medicaid clinic. That said, they also employ some of the brightest, incredibly dedicated and popular physicians and mid-level providers in the area, and were recently certified as a level 3 patient centered medical home- a distinction few other practices have in the area. They are organized, paperless, and are light years ahead of most other medical groups in WNY.

  15. You are trying to say that updating is far more difficult than total tear down and rebuild from scratch. You can always phrase a task to make it sound arduous but I would point out that the new build can’t even start putting in the wires until they build a new foundation, new structure and new walls. The old building could be retrofitted in 6 months or even shorter. I have worked on many renovations and reuses. They can be expensive or cheap depending on what you want out of it. The old building had large wide open commercial spaces on the first floor. Probably suitable for many uses. Now, I don’t know what this user needed for their operation. Maybe they did not want a 2 story building. Maybe they did not even consider reuse because they already have a prototype designed that they want to plop down. Maybe this is easier for them because they don’t have to think about it. Maybe they just bought into the lazy attitude that renovating is more expensive. The result is that the city lost a very nice street oriented building and what it will get is a pretty ugly cookie-cutter building in return. As a country we get more unnecessary waste in a dump and more waste of energy and resources along with more pollution. We also lose another bit of increasingly rare historic heritage.
    It is too bad people in this country so easily accept the dull meme that old is bad and all new is good.

  16. What the heck is going on, I leave for a week and the city is getting demolished!
    Weren’t there about 100 empty lots that this building could have been built on? What about at the corner of Hertel and Elmwood on the two empty corners??? I don’t understand this.

  17. “Maybe they did not even consider reuse because they already have a prototype designed that they want to plop down.”
    Ding ding ding!
    At the public hearing, the urgent care people and the architect (Silvestri) were quite firm that they had already worked out the single floor plan and layout that worked for their business and basically no adjustments could be possibly be made.

  18. Arch and Joshua I’ll do you one better… how about just down the street past the corner of Hertel and Delaware!? If they were so fired up to tear something down how about that I-Hop that was open for about two years (maybe). If they had a prototype that couldn’t be adjusted there are plenty of places within a 1/2 mile range they could have built. Did the owner of this building sell to them cheap or something?
    The old Copper Kettle building on Main (right next to Burgio’s TV and Tony’s Ranch House) was torn down within the last two weeks too. So much for the argument that this is only happening in the poor neighborhoods.

  19. Hmmph. This stretch of Delaware always felt car oriented to me anyway. How many more years until Buffalo greencode is done so it can tell me if I should be made about this or not.

  20. Copper Kettle gone? What a shame. I used to eat lunch there frequently. Took a while before I had the nerve to try the Copper Kettle Club Special. Peanut butter, bacon, mayonnaise, swiss cheese, and onion. I know – sounds awful. It was really good!

  21. It would be preferable from the standpoint of community integrity, imo, to gut rehab existing buildings when possible as opposed to demo and replacement with single story generic boxes. Not every time. Some infill works very well (Empire Grill jumps to mind). But generally I think Steel and others have a point here worth noting.
    Couldn’t the city develop some incentives to help persuade developers to completely redevelop existing structures? I’m thinking high fees for new construction, minimal fees for gut rehab, for instance. Big red tape for tear downs, fast track approvals for reuse of existing structures. That kind of thing.

  22. It would be nearly impossible to retrofit a medical facility of any kind. Plus, now all the fattys eating Chef Boyardee next door can just walk their gut-rot to the doctor.
    p.s. Is anyone really excited about finding an old bank ad?
    move on,

  23. dang. I always liked the look of that building in that place. I didn’t even know Gallagher had closed. Does anyone know what the building sold for. Couldn’t have been too much if they demo’d it. like I said, dang.

  24. Again, this is just my opinion, but I don’t think the new building is all that ugly and I don’t think the old building was all that great. I usually agree with your posts concerning preservation and reuse but I think it’s unrealistic to think that we’ll preserve all the old buildings in Buffalo that people deem worth saving. There’s probably a good chance that the old building would have gone unused for quite some time, contributing nothing to the area or the city’s coffers. At least now there will be a business providing a needed service and the city can collect some tax money from the property. Ideal? No. But it’s not that terrible in my opinion.

  25. Typical BR commenter foolishness. A fairly generic and unremarkable old building is taken out and replaced with a structure they haven’t seen yet, and complaints abound about how ugly it’s going to look at where the parking will be. Not noticing that the North Buffalo area is lacking such a facility – the nearest is Kenmore Mercy, two and a half miles away – or that it’s actually something that will provide additional employment to the area, OR that it’s preventing there from being yet another empty storefront along one of our major throughfares. No, no. It’s more important to complain about the parking location for a building you haven’t even seen a concept drawing of yet.

  26. > Couldn’t the city develop some incentives to help persuade developers to completely redevelop existing structures?
    A well-written form-based zoning code (Buffalo Green Code, SmartCode, etc) in place might slow down the suburbanization of the city more than any incentives. That is, if elected officials have the will to enforce it.

  27. Those who think that demolition and a complete new-build are cheaper than a retrofit/reuse haven’t been paying attention. It’s done all the time, in this country and all over the world.
    In most cases, there is no excuse not to do a rehab, especially when the old building is as beautiful as this one was.
    However, times are changing (slowly), and it can’t automatically be assumed that any new building will be hideous and civically dysfunctional. But based on the earlier comments here, it sounds like a knockoff of a faceless, antisocial, typologically bankrupt suburban design they built outside of Rochester.
    Here’s the link to Silvestri’s project page for the Rochester building:
    I sure hope this ain’t the template. There’s a small chance that Silvestri has a decent design in the works, but I’m still not betting on it. What a loss.

  28. As someone who lives in that neighborhood, I beg to differ. We lost an original building from the neighborhood that could have been rehabbed to include this immediate care facility plus ancillary uses on the second floor. What we got is crap. Sheridan is not a walkable neighborhood, but North Buffalo at that location is not only walkable but dense. There is a neighborhood school and ice rink a block away. The library is two blocks away. People including kids walk to both, but now they have to dodge even more cars than before. Tonawanda and Amherst can keep their poorly designed commercial development, if you are going to locate in the city at least acknowledge that more than 30% of the adult population does not own a car. Especially in a neighborhood that is maintaining its density and urban character.

  29. It would be great if some concerned neighbors stepped up to start surveying architecturally-significant buildings in Kenmore; this could be a first step in protecting what remains.
    Otherwise, yes, let’s pray that the Green Code manages to stop this madness.

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