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Erie Freight House – An Alternative View

By Larry Brooks:
Buffalo Rising’s recent post on the Erie Freight House drew a lot of attention and quite a few comments to a building and neighborhood that receives little attention. It was good to see. Judging by the comments, it begged, in the minds of many who read the article, the question of ‘what’s the alternative?’ and ‘why save the existing structure?’ Read on.
Interest is not new: for several years now, a handful of Buffalo residents have been interested in preserving and restoring this structure. They struggled to get the land from the previous negligent owner who ran it into the ground and then quickly moved out of the City. 
What is the vision of this group?
To those who say “Save it for what?” this group replies: A restaurant, offices, rowing club facilities, retail shops, top-floor lofts, event space, and museum space with historic exhibits among other things. The right mix of uses could make the enterprise profitable. The potential operator sees this project as a regional destination attraction with the goal of attracting customers from the southern Ontario, Central & Western New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Both a very experienced local construction company and restaurant operator with the capacity to ensure a successful public-private partnership have expressed real commitment to the project. Boaters would be able to come to this site and dock; walkers could go by and observe activity, or come in and enjoy some commerce. 
The proposed apartment wharf, while public, would not offer any amenities to the public or visiting boaters; they would not want to dock there and they cannot go to the private Rod and Gun Club; walkers would observe a 520 foot long private parking area.  The apartment proposal would likely function more like the housing at the Erie Basin Marina – a $300,000 per unit, high end island, where the rest of the City’s less affluent residents are discouraged.
The public use proposal fits in perfectly with Buffalo’s strategy of building our economy on our rich heritage. An exciting Maritime District along the Buffalo River is already underway–River Fest Park down Ohio Street, Silo City, the Swannie (which has a dock at the water’s edge), and the new Canalside site–and the Erie Freight House would be a perfect fit for that.  Indeed, the work of Peg Overdorf, Laura Kelly, Tim Tielman, Julie O’Neill and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Brian Higgins and countless others over the past two decades to keep preservation of the Buffalo River waterfront, greenspace and architecture front and center is what makes the apartment project even a possibility. We have seen isolated projects, such as the Pier, fail because they were not part of a greater movement like the Elmwood, Allentown, Theater or Chippewa districts.
To those who say “Don’t obstruct development” this is development, a construction project that could equal the Savarino/FFZ plan in terms of construction dollars. There is an advantage, over the Savarino/FFZ plan, to this proposal: a mixed use public development would be more accessible to the public and enjoyed by many more people than just the 48 households of the Savarino plan, bringing more dollars from visitors which would be spent in the neighborhood. Furthermore, a mixed-use commercial development will create about 100 jobs long-term, many of the workers from the surrounding neighborhood. That is a lot more jobs than would be employed at an apartment complex. Renovation of the Erie Freight House does not mean that Savarino Companies cannot build their 48 apartments elsewhere: there is an abundance of vacant and available land in the vicinity on which Savarino and FFZ could build. The project team completely approves of developing market rate housing on and around the river, just not at the expense of this historic building.  Right project, wrong site. We can have both–the Erie Freight House and the apartments.

Save-Freight-12-Buffalo-NY-2.jpg

It is not the rickety structure that it looks like from the exterior. To those who think it’s a “rusty tin shack” there is this photo of a solid post-and-beam timber frame. What the public sees from the exterior is a skin of corrugated metal that was meant to protect the structure from the weather. Underneath is wood siding, some of it certainly dating back to the original construction.
Regarding the engineering report commissioned by Savarino:  on October 1st, 2012, Kevin V. Connors, registered architect and professional engineer, the Principal of eco_logic STUDIO, with extensive experience working on historic structures in Buffalo wrote this to Mr. James Comerford, Jr., Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services:
“On September 12, 2012 I participated in a walk-thru tour of the [Erie Freight House] with representatives of Savarino Companies. I have reviewed the Preliminary Structural Observation report by Tredo Engineers, dated July 6, 2012, as well as the Local Landmark Nomination documents prepared by Kerry Traynor, KTA Preservation Specialists. I agree with Tredo Engineers’ general assessment of the structural condition, however I disagree with the recommended demolition. While I recognize the risk and security issues of the current facility condition, it is my professional opinion that the structure can be stabilized and protected by performing selective demolition and salvage operations; structural shoring and bracing of the remaining structure; enclosure of exposed portions of walls and roof; and securing the waterside exposure. The Erie Freight House is the last extant example of an early (c1868) transshipment facility. The significance of the building is well documented. It’s heavy timber and truss structure is mostly intact. The process of repair and renovation can be one that enriches the historical interpretation of the site, while simultaneously building local capacity for specialty restoration construction. This structure has great potential as a community waterside attraction and mixed-use development, providing neighborhood employment opportunities. We are aware of a group looking at a non-profit development model that is interested in acquiring and renovating the building. We hereby recommend against the demolition of this important and salvageable heritage structure.”
Think it can’t be done? Search Google images for “Renovated Freight Houses” and you’ll see “about 978,000” images of adaptive reuses of freight houses all around the country. It’s done all the time. Consider this recent example:

ABOUT_Building01.jpg

Foss Waterway Seaport: 
Construction is
currently underway for the historic rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of Foss Waterway Seaport, Tacoma’s premier maritime heritage, education and recreation center. The new 40,000 square foot public facility will feature an expanded heritage museum, compelling indoor program spaces, docks and floats for recreational and educational boating, and public open spaces for events, festivals and casual activities. The improvements will make the Seaport the largest maritime heritage and education center on the West Coast, with spaces for families, students and entire communities to discover, explore, work and play with on-the-water activities.
For more information visit this link or this link.
On January 10th, 2012 the Buffalo Common Council approved the nomination of the Erie Freight House as a designated city landmark. Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN) would like to reinforce this informed decision that was made by the means of direct public participation. The Local Landmark status provides the highest level of protection for historically significant assets in our community, and ensures meaningful public participation in the future of said resources. The circa 1868 Erie Freight House located at 9 South Street is considered to be the only extant freight warehouse building in the city associated with the Erie Canal and historic railway companies along the Buffalo River. Freight houses are a building type that once dominated the banks of the Buffalo River, and the Erie Freight House is the last surviving example. For more information, visit www.preservationbuffaloniagara.org.
It’s worth saving.
Save-Freight-12-Buffalo-NY-3.jpg

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Written by queenseyes

queenseyes

Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

8170 posts
  • newskylinebuffalo

    tear the **** down.

  • schvanstuchen

    Who’s going to fund this Larry? Right, no one. Are you looking for public funds? Good luck with that! BTW that rendering reaffirms my opinion- it wont work there are no windows! It was a FREIGHT house!

  • ccbuffalo

    i agree, tear this down and let the condos go up. christ!!!

  • grad94

    double thumbs up to larry & riverkeepers for showing us an alternative. we have enough vacant land in buffalo that we can have new housing -and- a repurposed freight house. this is not an either/or proposition.
    i suggest pulling off one sheet of the rusty metal siding and restoring a small square of the siding to show people the potential. so often we demolish merely because of easily reversible cosmetic flaws.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Good to see another take on this, we are too quick to demolish the very fabric that makes this city unique. There is plenty of available land for new build apartments, leave this one alone for awhile to see what develops. The knee jerk “tear it down” crowd contribute nothing to this city, they have short term attention spans and are unable to recognize the potential of our built environment.

  • flyguy

    I like the waterside condo idea and hope they show up somewhere. If they end up on this site, fine, but if they do not and this site has a legitimate developer come forward with a legitimate proposal with private dollars to get this thing reborn then thats fine too, although I wouldnt be willing to wait another 5, 10 years on that either. It would have to be Webster Block RFP fast. IF this structure were to be saved I keep thinking the Buffalo Fire Museum currently located off the beaten path on the east side would be a GREAT addition to the Buffalo River Corridor. The museum isnt something just schemed up, its a real place currently, and a few monbths back I remember seeing a news clip that the museum curator wished they had more walk ins. The museum wouldnt have to take up the entirety but a good chunk I would imagine. That would leave room for some of the other ideas as well. Though I always thought the second floor of the DL&W would be a perfect fit, next to an existing fire station and the EM Cotter, I could see this building as a legitimate second place candidate for such a museum facility and maybe a relocated Cotter slip? The small Ohio Street Park over there could become a Firemans Park and maybe some fundraising could be done to erect some fire oriented sculptural pieces and some Buffalo Fire historic interpretaion signage and explain the role of firefighters along the waterfront on both land and water. These local attractions are what make places unique and attract interest. They need to be paired well like wine and cheese! Nice thing about this structure is the large bay doors which would make moving historic fire engines, etc easier to get into the building. I think this would be a good end of the Buffalo River corridor attraction, a book end between canalside and the freight house, if it remains. Whatever will be will be on this one.

  • JimB

    I’m usually behind the preservation community, however I can’t support saving this building. The hardcore preservationists don’t know how to pick their battles, so they’ll ride this one to the bitter end. I just hope this doesn’t hurt the credibility of the movement.
    Cue the angry comments.

  • Quixote

    I am anxious to hear more:
    1. Who is the retaurant tenant? Bankable restaurant tenants are very rare. It would be great to know who this is. Trouble is bankable retaurant tenants are usually formula restaurants versus “dollar and a dream” types. Not sure I would want either.
    Who is the “operator’? Is the operator a bankable tenant that will take a risk and sign a lease versus someone who has a good idea they could make work if just given a chance? We have suffered through a lot of those.
    Would the rowing facility compete with the new rowing club planned next door?
    How much will they charge for meetings in the new meeting space? Will it be for free?
    Has this group thought of purchasing some nearby land and trading with the current owners? That would seem to be the best way for these well helled tenants/investors/operators to show they have more than good intentions.
    Is the contractor someone who will be investing significantly in the property or just someone interested in a construction job? There are a lot of contractors in the City. There are not a lot of private investors.
    Why was the building not designated as a Landmark before the prior owner let it deteriorate? Or when part of it fell into the River? Or when the center portion collapsed? Why was it proposed as a Landmark only after the current owners contracted to buy it? (my timing may be off but I think that is the case).
    Who is this “group” exactly?

  • BuffaloRox

    Cool concept but it sounds as if a lot of public assistance would be required. There already is a lot of public money being spread around – Darwin Martin House, Buffalo Zoo, Webster Block and new Catholic Health HQ. If it’s just using available historic state tax credits for gap financing from private lenders, that’s a different story.
    There seems to be increasing pressure to develop Buffalo River waterfront property with continued work on Canalside and proposed work to beautify and turn Ohio St into a boulevard. How will this proposed plan compliment, rather than compete with, any long-term plans to repurpose the top floors of the DL&W terminal? The city and preservationists should develop some plan or vision for the properties along the Buffalo River rather than being so reactive.

  • 5to81ALLDAY

    i cant believe architecture firms are still releasing these lousy paintings they call “renderings”

  • JM

    This would bring more to the area than just a few apartments. People really do appreciate our history even if locals don’t. The Erie Canal is a nice draw and we should capitalize on this not wash it away.
    Apartments alone will not add much, look at the Elk Street apartments, have they spurred anything? Mixed use is way better especially for this area and involving the water.

  • longgone

    What a crock of sh*t.
    Nothing more than a bunch of people who want to throw a temper tantrum when they do not get their way.
    How about this…
    Start a kickstarter or Indie Gogo project to fund this. Have Tim Tielman and company raise half of the money needed to pull off this vision. If you don’t think this is possible, check out one for a Tesla Museum in New York. This project raised $1.3M dollars off funding that was mostly under $350 per.
    http://www.indiegogo.com/teslamuseum
    Until these people start putting up their own money…put some skin in the game..they need to pound sand.
    I have suggested this crowd funding option on several projects like this and always get silence. I expect the same here.

  • Quixote

    As far as the picture I guess you get what you pay for.
    I see a lot of people in the picture. Where would they park? I think the building takes up the entire site. You would need to build a big parking lot and you would need to buy adjacent land to do it.
    If the building has 70,000 square feet of area and the City requires 5 spots for every 1,000 square feet of floor area then you would need 350 parking spots. If you assume 500 square feet per spot (including access roads and entrances)that will require almost 4 acres of parking! Where would that go?
    Not sure I would sign up for a sea of asphalt next to our river.
    One of the nice features of the residential proposal was that it did not require a lot of ugly asphalt lot. Most of the parking was underneath.

  • Quixote

    As far as the picture I guess you get what you pay for.
    I see a lot of people in the picture. Where would they park? I think the building takes up the entire site. You would need to build a big parking lot and you would need to buy adjacent land to do it.
    If the building has 70,000 square feet of area and the City requires 5 spots for every 1,000 square feet of floor area then you would need 350 parking spots. If you assume 500 square feet per spot (including access roads and entrances)that will require almost 4 acres of parking! Where would that go?
    Not sure I would sign up for a sea of asphalt next to our river.
    One of the nice features of the residential proposal was that it did not require a lot of ugly asphalt lot. Most of the parking was underneath.

  • Wolffman

    Even the renderings don’t make this pile of crap look good.

  • RPreskop

    The Erie Freighthouse is not worth saving. The apartment project proposed for the site should proceed without anymore delays. I am so sick and damned tired of these obstructionists that want to save everything even if it is badly deteriorated and beyond repair. This alternative plan should be rejected. Tear down the decrepit, ugly Erie Freighthouse.

  • ccbuffalo

    u can let this dump sit a little longer and it will fall on its own ! its on the way to doing that. oh wait, there is 1 bean that is still sturdy

  • BigBrother87

    We have Savarino who has money, track record and ability to get his project done.
    Or we have a “group” with a dream….but probably no money or ability to make it happen.
    Choice seems pretty clear to me.

  • Joe E.V.

    Looks worth exploring-if it’s feasible it’s a better project than apts. It’s sat decaying for decades, and even Savarino says a seasons delay is not going to kill his plan-so either there’s a viable alt by spring or down it comes.

  • Prospero

    This building isn’t the “fabric” of anything. It’s a blight and an eyesore and is standing in the way of actual development that could enhance the surrounding area. Our city needs more progress and less bickering over a property that is just not worthy of the effort.

  • ByronBrownsTie

    If you say idly by for the past 20 years while this building was left to rot, you need to sit down and shut up. Why these people come out of the woodwork and start throwing up roadblocks to everything when there are ACTUAL PLANS in place to do ACTUAL WORK with ACTUAL MONEY, boggles the mind.
    Hats off to Savarino, I hope you throw three sticks of dyamite into the building on a Sunday afternoon and then walk away. Silence the — i wont’t even call them obstructionists — silence these nagging old ladies and then move on to building something.
    Good grief.

  • Chris

    Anyone had the ability to purchase this building and do whatever they wanted with it.
    A rendering is just an interpretation. Once you get past an artists drawing and think about the dollars and cents of it I’m sure that this project doesn’t make sense.
    I’ve been by this building. It is just a larger version of what hillbillies have in their backyard (a rusted shed).

  • stanmarsh

    Hmm, what’s that? All the people who want to tear it down are getting upvoted? All the people who want to save it are getting downvoted? Saving it is absolutely ridiculous. Preservation is important, but it’s almost come to a sort of self-righteous quest to save EVERYTHING. Sometimes old-yeller gets lime disease and you can cure him. Other times, he will get rabies and you have to bring him out back….

  • Soccerdude5719

    Then this group purchase it and build it without asking the city, county, state, etc for anything beyond the basic tax credits both would probably use.
    Enough creating ideas if they’re not gonna do it themselves with their own money. Nothing happened here, its an old building with no architectural uniqueness or major historic significance(not even minor).

  • Polonia

    I gave birth to this building. Save it because it means something vague and intangiable to me.
    Actually thats all i hear you uppity yups in search of a cause saying. Was a god damn president of the United States immaculately conceived here? Is the Arc of the Covenant buried here? NOOOOO its a hunk of shit thats old. Big deal. Let the man build the usable and new building and let’s tear down this literal rats nest and code violation. Its ugly and I’m sure your re-use proposals would be lame. Shut up.
    cue the thumbs downs.

  • Quixote

    Has anyone approached Savarino to see if they could incorporate ANY of the decent parts of the freight house in their design? Are there any decent parts?
    The more I look at this alternative “proposal” the more it appears to be little more than a retail project with a few nice things for a rowing cub and maybe Riverkeepers. Being a retail and public assembly project it would require a very large parking lot.
    How does one get such a project done at the public expense?
    You start by claiming that you are fighting only to preserve an historic structure.
    If presrving the freight house is really the primary motivation for this group then they had ample opportunity to designate it as a landmark when they were purportedly dealing with the prior owners. I’ll bet these same people were behind the effort to get it designated as a landmark after Savarino and FFZ contracted to purchase it. Was it because this “group” did not want to be saddled with the landmark designation but were none too happy to saddle Savarino and FFZ with it?
    I wonder if this group has approached Savarino and FFZ and offered to take their “problem” off their hands on the cheap. That probably comes next.
    I don’t want to introduce an inconvenient fact but please show us a site plan for this proposal. I would like to see where they want to put 4 acres of asphalt. Certainly on the site of the freight house.
    Look for the rod and gun club to be the next structure proposed as a landmark.

  • Travelrrr

    Excellent post. I agree 100 percent–a public use (mix of commercial, etc.–maybe even put some of the Maritime Center there) makes more sense than I private one on this site. Build the residential nearby.
    I’ve been to other reused freight houses around the country–they definitely are a draw.

  • Quixote

    Has anyone approached Savarino to see if they could incorporate ANY of the decent parts of the freight house in their design? Are there any decent parts?
    The more I look at this alternative “proposal” the more it appears to be little more than a retail project with a few nice things for a rowing cub and maybe Riverkeepers. Being a retail and public assembly project it would require a very large parking lot.
    How does one get such a project done at the public expense?
    You start by claiming that you are fighting only to preserve an historic structure.
    If presrving the freight house is really the primary motivation for this group then they had ample opportunity to designate it as a landmark when they were purportedly dealing with the prior owners. I’ll bet these same people were behind the effort to get it designated as a landmark after Savarino and FFZ contracted to purchase it. Was it because this “group” did not want to be saddled with the landmark designation but were none too happy to saddle Savarino and FFZ with it?
    I wonder if this group has approached Savarino and FFZ and offered to take their “problem” off their hands on the cheap. That probably comes next.
    I don’t want to introduce an inconvenient fact but please show us a site plan for this proposal. I would like to see where they want to put 4 acres of asphalt. Certainly on the site of the freight house.
    Look for the rod and gun club to be the next structure proposed as a landmark.

  • Dan

    > The apartment proposal would likely function more like the housing at the Erie Basin Marina – a $300,000 per unit, high end island, where the rest of the City’s less affluent residents are discouraged.
    Because, God forbid, there should be new, upscale, market rate housing in the City of Buffalo. Gotta’ keep Buffalo the Xth poorest city in the country, right?
    I’m sure that all the retail and entertainment uses in a restored Erie Freight House would be far more accessible to the city’s less affluent residents. Brewpubs, locavore restaurants, gift shops selling “I [heart] Buffalo Hockey” and “I [clover] Buffalo Irish” t-shirts, all of them appealing greatly to Buffalo’s vast underclass. Uh huh.

  • elmdog

    Let Savarino build, wtf….he said that he will try and use what he can from the building….If he walks and nothing happens…Preservationists should have to flip the bill for the lost tax revenue and potential….

  • Dan

    Good to see another take on this, we are too quick to demolish the very fabric that makes this city unique.
    > There is plenty of available land for new build apartments,
    There’s a difference between “vacant” and “available”. Also, between “available” and “available and fiscally viable”, or “available” and “available and not a brownfield”.
    > leave this one alone for awhile to see what develops.
    144 years, with however many years it’s been vacant, hasn’t been enough time? What else will develop? The longer it stays, the more “historic” it becomes if you base it on age alone.
    > The knee jerk “tear it down” crowd contribute nothing to this city, they have short term attention spans and are unable to recognize the potential of our built environment.
    The same can be said of the knee-jerk “save it all” crowd. There’s a range between the two. IMHO, there’s more than just age that should be considered, but also fabric, context, and architectural integrity and merit. Still, the city has been burned too many times by seeing large swaths of its fabric ripped apart for projects that never came to fruition, so I understand why some may feel protective of this structure.

  • Soccerdude5719

    The question I got for everyone who wants to save it is, where do think the money for this is gonna come from?
    I doubt Savarino and FFZ are looking to do something like this, it just doesn’t seem that profitable and I feel like there is gonna be requests for funds from the government if there is a lack of private investment.

  • mikerals

    Demolish the past, build the future!
    We need more condos in Buffalo. It is a simple fact that our population is growing. It has been since the 1950s and it will be another instance of us Buffalonians shooting ourselves in the foot if we allow these silly obstructionists to keep a developer from building these condos.
    Why would we want to save the Erie Freight House? I personally do not want any remaining physical link to our past as an important industrial center and shipping hub. We have too many old interesting buildings and too few units of housing and its time for someone to finally think outside the box kill two birds with one stone. Our neighborhoods are literally so packed with people that it is hard to find any place to live. And because we have such a hot real estate and housing market here, there really is little vacant land available to build on. Even if we wanted to save this building, (which we don’t), we can’t afford to because there are no other suitable sites for this kind of project.

  • Rand503

    I see no reason why we can’t do both — promote new development and incorporate this building in to it. It isn’t an “either/or” proposition, and I’m rather tired of people who insist that it is.
    Presumably, the type of people who would move into condos on the river front are people who appreciate history and preservation. They are, afterall, looking out over dozens of abandoned grain elevators.
    There is also nothing wrong with changing plans to accommodate this building. Changing plans happens all the time, and rarely is the first plan implemented as is.
    Good grief indeed.

  • GinghamQuaker

    So you are proposing developing it into ____________, with ____________ money, and owned and operated by ____________? Ok, as long as we’re on the same page.

  • Travelrrr

    Nicely played

  • hamp

    Great post. This building should be saved. We’ve destroyed enough of our past. Let this one stand.

  • Polonia

    You know what we should of done. We should of never let those greedy railroad moguls buy all that wonderfully historic farm land that fed this city in order to build filthy railroad hubs. We should of kept all those irreplacable tenament houses and brothels and scrapped any idea of building the Ellicott Square Building or the Dunn Building. Delaware Mansions?!? how dare you!? We have a historic Potter’s field on that site. OBSTRUCT!!

  • Jaxson

    They could use those increased historical credits that Cuomom is signing into law. Oh, nevermind.

  • DOC

    ENOUGH!! Tear it down!! Does EVERYTHING have to be saved? I think not. This is a classic example and learning experience for Preseverationists (of which I am one) to “choose your battles wisely”. This is not a wise battle. Let it go.

  • Polonia

    Amen.

  • GroveyClevesYall

    Obstruction.

  • gtscout716

    You’re still not understanding that this is Savarino’s building, land, and money funding this idea. Not yours, not Tim Tielman’s, not BRO. If he thinks there is demand for new housing here, let him build it!

  • paulsobo

    either save it or put up those 5 story apartments but no more empty promises or shovel ready sites.
    If there isnt a permit and financing to start building those apartments then dont approve the demolition.
    Dont destroy history needlessly.

  • STEEL

    In what universe does it appear to you that anywhere near “everything” is being saved??? Have you looked around and taken note of Buffalo? I really can’t understand this line that the tear down gang leans on for every demolition. Are there really that many canal era buildings left that we can afford to lose one or two once in a while?

  • grad94

    as steel said, who has ever tried to “save everything?” haven’t you noticed that about half of downtown has been torn down for surface parking? that block upon block, mostly on the east side, has been reduced to little more than one or two occupied houses or businesses? that, regardless of local landmark status, almost everything is fair game when it comes to demolition?
    seriously, how many more vacant weedy lots and asphalt dead zones do you need to see before you will declare victory and celebrate how toothless those “obstructionists” really are?
    once again, we can have our cake and eat it too. we are a half-empty city. we don’t need to demolish the freight house in order to have new condos.

  • digitalkid2112

    Last time I checked don’t we already have a huge underutilized freight house/terminal on the Buffalo River called the DL&W termnial. That building is in far better shape and no one can even use that. What makes anyone think that this building can go anywhere. Gotta pick your battles, this is not one of them. Let it go. You have someone who owns the property, has the financial means and track record of getting things done here. Seems like a slam dunk to me.

  • Travelrrr

    The DLW is owned by the NFTA and, therefore, unusable at present. As history has shown, they don’t make their real estate available to the masses too easily.

  • brownteeth

    You know I don’t fall into the “knee jerk tear it down” crowd but I think in this case its warranted. Do we have plenty of land to build new apartments on? Yes, but not on the Buffalo river this close to downtown. I also have a question regarding possible reuse since it is now locally land-marked historic. Won’t that severely limit the possible reuse due to the guidelines, ie no windows?
    If there weren’t a plan in place to immediately build something new in its place I would back saving this. But it’s not too often we get brand new affordable apartments built on the waterfront that aren’t low income let alone on the river. I think a project like this could actually shed more light on the river, silo city, etc in a positive way once it’s proven that people want to live on the river. Plus, I think re-building this building out of period materials would be less cost prohibitive than salvage and could be built elsewhere with a modern twist to accommodate a broader use. I wouldn’t suggest that for most styles of buildings but this one is a pretty straight forward no frills style.

  • brownteeth

    I just read your comment in Stan’s voice…

  • Buff2020

    Call 444-4444. Looks like Savarino has been rear-ended by a non-for-profit funded with taxpayer dollars teaming up a competing developer to get more taxpayer dollars. The race doesn’t always go to the Swift. Can’t wait to read the transcripts. Wait until you hear the whole story on this one. Only in Buffalo…

  • Buff2020

    According to their website Larry works in a taxpayer funded job at Riverkeeper. According to Guidestar they get 2/3 of their money from the government. Riverkeeper wants their current landlord to buy the building so that they can leverage taxpayer dollars for its rehab and then rent their landlord with more taxpayer dollars. Makes perfect sense to me.

  • Joe

    I just got back from Chicago. It’s amazing how when a developer wants to move that city forward, they are applauded and allowed to build. They don’t have to deal with backwards preservationists trying to save buildings that are simply old and not historic other than formerly contributing to industry (Obviously, I’m not talking about Hotel Lafayette or Darwin Martin House). It was so refreshing seeing stuff just get done. No wonder so many people and businesses want out of this area….

  • biniszkiewicz

    the NFTA is quite willing to listen to ideas for tenanting the D&L second floor. It’s quite easy to get their real estate manager to show it to prospective users. They’ll take the rental income if you bring it.

  • Buffalo: Then & Now
  • Buffalo: Then & Now
  • Greenca

    grad94 – what do you propose on the east side to counter all of the past demolitons? Should those rotting abandoned houses still be standing? How would they be maintained? Who would live in them? No one wanted to live in them when they were first abandoned. There is definitely not a market for that real estate. If there was, they wouldn’t be on the in-rem/demolition list.

  • Buff2020

    Parking is easy. They can probably get the Rod & Gun Club to donate the land they just bought in front or maybe condemn it. It’s probably tax deductible. Since it will be a taxpayer funded not-for-profit occupying the property and their taxpayer funds employees getting free downtown parking, the asphalt doesn’t matter. The Rod & Gun Club isn’t going to want to stay there very long anyway. Perhaps that land can be added to the project. Maybe the City could build a ramp.

  • nyc

    I don’t get it.

  • grad94

    so let me see if i get this right. we’re wrong when we oppose demolitions, but we’re also wrong when we don’t. so much for the claim that we don’t pick our battles.

  • Quixote

    Just saw the latest in the News. If this “group” has been at it for that long they should have funds together or a solid plan to get financing. My guess is no. That would explain all the mystery – and there has not been as much mystery surrounding a group since it was rumored that the Beatles were going to get back together.
    Hey Group is the rest of the plan? If you have been at it for so long you must have more than just a whimsical picture from Flynn Battaglia. Where is the site plan? The drawing Savarino released indicated that the existing building footprint takes up the entire site. Where is the required parking for the proposal being put forward by the “group”? By my calculations you need 3-4 acres of parking for it just to meet City minimum requirements. Is this “group” going to put in a “proposal” for someone else’s property next so they can satisfy their parking requirements? Where are they going to get it from? Pave the DEC park next door? Pave the park across the street? Take it from the Rod and Gun Club? Good luck with that last option. You will end up unsuccessful and well ventilated.
    The Buffalo River could use a few more solid projects that do not require us to pave a whole bunch of property that could otherwise be green area. Why is this not a referendum against suburban style development along the river? If you want a retail plaza purchase the former Sam’s Town gas station on the other side of Ohio Street.
    I hope a landmark designation is not being used by well intentioned not for profit warriors to steer the property to them and their selected landlords for their own gain.
    I can not recall Riverkeeper standing up for this property before Savarino/FFZ put down real cash and purchased it.
    As for PBN – where is the outrage over the Cooperage? That building is crumbling before our eyes and no one seems to care. Why isn’t someone trying to help Clint Brown make that project work?
    Maybe PBN would rather wait for that building to be condemned before they pay attention – and then only to beat up Clint Brown who doesn’t deserve it.

  • grad94

    this is why we’re about to enact a green code that doesn’t have such onerous off-street parking requirements.

  • Tim

    It would be more beneficial for this articles’ sake to showcase the interior structure in a better manner than that one pathetic interior picture. It doesn’t do much for the preservation argument. There’s more beauty to it than that nasty rotting wood post.
    That said, request that savarino deconstruct the interior latticework and structure that is still salvageable and send the rest to the junkyard. Encorporate the saved timber structure into a new build at canal side. (Duh). Build the damn fine apartment complex. Win win.

  • Rand503

    Chicago is one of the largest cities in the country and is growing. Buffalo is a mid-sized city that is shrinking. So yes, things “Get done” in Chicago. That’s because there is a lot of things to do, like find housing for the people who are pouring into the city.
    Ever been to China? They “get things done” there too. And I mean they really get things done — old towns are knocked down overnight, people are evicted from their houses with no recourse, and everyone applauds because the city is growing, and developers make a boatload of money.
    When Buffalo is growing it’s population instead of losing it, give me a phone call, okay?

  • Rand503

    Angry comment.

  • EricOak

    Actually, Chicago lost 7% of its population in the last 10 years.

  • pampiniform

    Are you implying the big whole in the middle is an “easily reversible cosmetic flaw”? I think I would have to agree with the trained engineers that it more like a major structural issue.

  • Pegger

    This subject certainly garnered a lot of attention from people along all points on a spectrum. For some of the contributors, the issues are vital as they are stakeholders (or appear to be) in the outcomes. For others, outcomes matter for the sake of doctrinal belief systems in the areas of urban planning or preservation. The entire range of opinions expressed in the posts reflect the varied degrees of interest from fervently vibrant to casually involved. Many are just critcal.
    Perhaps it s time to turn the dilemma over to the people who have been elected, appointed, assigned or delegated with the power and expertise (hopefully)to determine the final resolution. There is certainly no shortage of individuals and agencies involved already.

  • Sabres1970

    I love the earlier post about turning this hunk of crap into a mixed use building. Mixed use in that area is laughable. The Genesee Gateway mixed use bulding has been sitting vacant for over a year since being rehabbed. If they can’t find mixed use tenants for that building, you will not find mixed use tenants for this building on Ohio St.
    Knock this hunk of crap down, and let Savarino go forward with his plans. Continue on with the crusade to save a factory(Trico) instead. I am sure there are prospective tenants a mile long waiting to move into that old dump.

  • Up and coming

    ……..damn you beat me to it 🙁

  • The Boss

    You got one thing right Chicago is huge, but it is a mess, declining population, horrid schools, crime and a huge tax burden. I love Chicago, but it faces that same issues that most large urban centers do.

  • sonyactivision

    Downtown Chicago was the second fastest growing downtown in the US from 2000-2010. The population losses have been in outlying distressed neighborhoods.

  • sonyactivision

    If this is such a good idea, where was this plan 10 years ago? Five years ago? A year ago?
    Obviously no one considered this collapsing structure worthy of a fancy makeover until a better idea came along. Then the NIMBYs sharpened their knives and went to work…

  • South Buffalo Drifter

    Any updates on “The Cooperage”??? People are talking about mixed use properties and Clinton Brown’s plans for the building is to include mixed use on the bottom levels and have lofts on the upper levels.
    See http://www.riverloftsbuffalo.com.
    That would bring mixed use to the area and the apartments on the other side of Ohio St.can be built in place of the deteriorated freight house. If anyone has any updates on this project please let us know.
    JM – stop in there to see Clint if you see his truck there and see what’s up.

  • GroveyClevesYall

    Why the hell would you put a Rhianna video on there!?

  • Quixote

    If it is true that this group had been having a dialog with Great Lakes Paper Fibres going back years then why did they allow GLPF to let the building deteriorate? Why not get it landmarked before it deteriorated beyond redemtion – certainly before it collapsed or for that matter right after it collapsed?
    Something doesn’t smell right here. It looks as if the group was more interested in obtaining a river side property on the cheap and then maybe/maybe not use the structure – or part of it if that was all that could be salvaged – for some pie in the sky project that they were going to ask the public to fund for their benefit. This group must have thrown blandishments at Riverkeeper and Maritime center to have them be tenants on the cheap in this river side nest. No wonder Riverkeepers is taking such an interest in one “proposal” over another.
    It is not surprising that little thought or consideration seems have been given to how this group was going to provide for 4 acres of parking for this taxpayer funded dream. Did they care if they saddled the Ohio Street corridor with a sea of ashpalt around their river side shangri-la?
    I would not be surprised to find that the current landlord for Riverkeepers and Maritime center is a member of the “group”. All signs point to it.
    Seems that Savarino and FFZ interupted this group’s fever dream when they contracted to purchase the property for cash. Did the members of this group work at or support the rushed efforts to get the building landmarked in order to stymie redevelopment efforts of Savarino/FFZ? If so they must have been really disappointed when, in spite of this handicap, Savarino/FFZ came up with a privately funded plan for market rate residences – the very same type of project that the Riverkeepers own study said should be built on that section of Ohio Street.
    And now this mysterious group is joining with Riverkeepers in trying to cow the Commissioner of Inspections and Licenses and suggesting to him that he force a sale from Savarino/FFZ to the group lest they stir up trouble – all in the interest of “saving” a building that they did very little to save when they actually had the chance to do so.
    ‘Taint right.

  • South Buffalo Drifter

    I agree with you there! Doesn’t seem like all the facts are out in the open….that’s not surprising though, Buffalo runs on underhanded late night deals every day. Sounds like the “group” has it’s own motivations that it isn’t sharing.

  • Joe E.V.

    I bet you believe man never set foot on the moon, too.

  • Quixote

    Their motivations? Well we can only guess but the facts would allow you to make it an intelligent guess.
    What is more troubling is their behavior. I don’t know if it is against the law but it ought to be.

  • Quixote

    Their motivations? Well we can only guess but the facts would allow you to make it an intelligent guess.
    What is more troubling is their behavior. I don’t know if it is against the law but it ought to be.

  • rubagreta

    I think if this building was prevented from being torn down, Buffalo would become the laughing stock of the country. I mean this is beyond insanity.

  • Travelrrr

    Wrong. We’d simply be on par with the number of cities who have successfully reused their freight houses.

  • mikerals

    His money and land, our rule of law and tax money spent on demolitions. Housing in Buffalo is worse than a zero sum game. When we build new things here, our old things rot in place.

  • Malone_C

    Let’s turn the building into a giant lollipop and it will be bigger than the CNN Tower. We need new leadership, more progressive leadership, (insert other useless cliches here)

  • nyc

    Can someone please post images of the inside of this building?

  • Kyle Broflovski

    I still see litle reason to prevent demolition. It was a freight house, and currently a structurally unstable one. In todays world a cities success is a product of consumption rather than the traditional method of production.
    Buffalo was built on production, Boston and many west coast cities were built on consumption. Highly educated individuals locate to an area with attractive amenities, this clustering attracts firms looking for talent, agglomeration economies occur, and we see growth.
    I do not believe an expensive restoration of a freight house for public use will provide these amenities. I can see 1) a mixed commercial use creating a diverse and dynamic neighborhood and 2) prime waterfront residential use since so much investment is already occuring around the area, offering high end housing in close proximity to the amenities the area currently and soon will offer. Either option calls for demolition (I am a supporter of adaptive reuse when feasable but were talking about a freight house).
    It would suprise me to see highly skilled individuals ever choose to say I would like to locate in close proximity to a restored wooden stroage house. regardless of historical signifigance. As redundant as it sounds the Preservation society must choose their battles more carefully.

  • townline

    That’s what I keep thinking!!!!
    PBN, Brooks, etc. are making the argument that the steel shell is covering up an incredible structure – yet all we’ve seen is a closeup of one unspectacular ceiling joist.
    I’m all for preserving our industrial built environment along the river, and I also think Savarino’s design sucks – yet I’m not even close to convinced that preserving this building is a good idea. The preservation community is doing a terrible job making their argument.
    How about you start showing reasons, other than a few individual’s opinions, that this should be saved!!

  • Tim

    http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121013/BUSINESS/121019591
    This article has a more flattering picture (lol), for architecture nuts at least. I love how savarino lifts up his hand to the structure as if to say, ‘SERIOUSLY!?’

  • DOC

    By “everything” Steel, I mean everything that comes under the scrutiny of preservation. I’d be more concerned about St. Gerard’s Chursh leaving the area than this dump being “saved.” This city needs immediate and continued preservation and there is a palpable momentum underway which I among many really do appreciate. However the Freight House is an ugly eye sore standing in the way of a reasonable development designed to contribute to a critical mass in this area. Buffalo needs about 100,000 more people with money. Not another dump waiting to have it’s sheet-metal skin removed. I hear the vast majority calling for progress here. What are you so threatened about? Have you lost your objectivity?

  • JM

    The building wasn’t nearly as bad 2 years ago. http://i.imgur.com/7VzzG.jpg This is from May 2010. Notice the lack of a hole in the roof and all the crap isn’t shoved into the River like now.

  • brownteeth

    I must say your comment is actually great.

  • grad94

    if demolishing it is such good idea, where were these condo plans a year ago? five years ago?

  • grad94

    just an aside on the meaninglessness of “pick your battles” lectures.
    do you know anyone who seeks the approval of their opponents before picking a battle?
    like: “dear next door neighbor, i’m thinking of going to small claims court over the damage you did to my tree when you missed your driveway the other night. do you think that is a good idea?”
    as if the neighbor will reply, “wow, you’ve picked a really good battle, i’m impressed by your judgement, it’ll be a pleasure to turn the matter over to small claims court.”
    does anyone facing opposition and organized challenges (which are obviously difficult and unpleasant, no argument there) ever compliment their enemies for picking the right battle? of course not.
    whether you think them right or wrong, foresighted or misguided, people who pick battles are doing exactly what you tell them to do: picking their battles.

  • Travelrrr

    Not 100% accurate. I’ve tried, but then there was the issue of safety (trains passing through), the facility not being handicap accessible, etc. So, in essence, the site was not currently usable.

  • nyc

    thanks.
    so i really don’t get it now.
    This structure is just not that attractive or inspiring.
    The preservation movement has done some great things in buffalo but i draw the line at when the developer has a project of much higher value, will provide greater density, will provide an additional constituent of people to support the revitalization of the river and surroundings, and is willing to build public access fronting the river.
    Any public money spent here should be spent in support of an open space master plan to start tying these river frontages together.
    My only gripe with the proposed project is the character of the buildings. Buffalo is so backwards, why not propose a design that looks forward and could become a river landmark, not another pretend it’s 1895 building. The river is the perfect place to do it.. in the shadows of the grain elevators which inspired a modern movement in architecture. The only people inspired by the design are cranky old people. believe me, i just met them.
    make it beautiful!

  • nyc

    yeah but the cost of renovating the erie freight house would be enough money to make the DL&W accessible and very much usuable.

  • “Realist”

    This comment and the lack of a response to it are pretty revealing of this board’s self-appointed comment police.
    Snark:
    Check.
    Expression of views through satire:
    Check.
    Humorous parody of a caricature of other people’s differing views:
    Check.
    Raging fury of policing comments from whatever, bini, etc:
    Nowhere to be found?
    Although the comment patrol say they don’t like my snark, satire, and hyperbole when directed at them and people who think like them, their giving C.Malone a pass with the same thing shows they are okay with it as long as it is not directed at “a few dissenting voices.”
    Perhaps they should be more forthright and just say they’d rather not read comments that aren’t aligned with their views instead of using invented talking points.

  • hamp

    DOC, I know many preservationists. Some of my best friends are preservationists.
    DOC, you’re no preservationist.

  • biniszkiewicz

    well there, aggrieved one, one significant difference is that it’s Mr. Malone, whoever that might be. But I recognize the name and I can see it’s not someone posing as someone else. That’s where the biggest difference lies with me.
    As I said in my earlier post, you should be free to speak solely satirically, if you like. Your choice. I might find it tiring, but as you said, I needn’t waste my time reading it if I don’t care for your humor.
    But at least Mr. Malone isn’t posing as someone else. You gloated in an earlier parks post about fooling people that you were whatever, boasting you had his/her style down. It’s clear you are targeting him/her, that you disagree with his/her arguments.
    What was so hard about keeping your earlier monikers? Why not Kettle (assuming that’s you; I haven’t heard you object, and your style certainly fits) or Armchair architect (ditto)? What was wrong with speaking behind a single fake entity instead of changing yours to mimic a particularly opposed point of view? Isn’t that different than Malone’s behavior above?
    I’d have never been all over your case if I didn’t think you were deliberately trying to dissuade less careful readers from treating whatever’s comments seriously. I find his/her arguments generally persuasive. I want people to read his or her stuff. It’s good, thoughtful commentary, in my opinion. And I don’t want you pretending to be him or her because it will turn more casual readers off from reading his or her stuff. Go back to one of your other names to make an ass of yourself or your foes, depending upon how one sees it. What was so hard about keeping your other fake identities? Did you feel no one listened to you anymore, so you had to mimic a foe to draw attention?
    I’d still respond sometimes to holes in your arguments, as I saw them (just like I used to), but I wouldn’t respond with anywhere near the vigor I do now.

  • biniszkiewicz

    or . . .
    even if you want to continue to troll ‘whatever’ and you feel the need to reference his or her identity for the full force of your satire to work, then reference him or her in a way that makes it very obvious to even the most casual reader that you are not yourself ‘whatever’.
    For example: call yourself “defnotwhatever”. You’d still be a troll and you’d still target whatever specifically (he or she can obviously handle the assault). You’d still be attacking the person more than the argument, but hey: it’s your pulpit. However at least you wouldn’t undermine the credibility of his brand by fooling some people into thinking that you two are the same person. Do something to make very clear to even the laziest reader that you are not ‘whatever’ and I’ll stop objecting. Isn’t that fair?

  • ForestBird

    Mr.Savarino says he wants to save the intact timbers for future use; that should be sufficient for the history droolers out there.

  • pampiniform

    As eloquently stated as that was, I think your argument doesn’t quite address the “pick your battles” argument. I don’t think it matters if you seek the approval of your opponent before you pick a battle as much as thinking about if you even should make that person your opponent in the first place. I also don’t see the problem in criticizing someone for picking a battle that they likely won’t win and that will have unintended consequences for their side.

  • BuffaloBlue

    Tear it down and bring the mass to that section that is needed…. That area is full of buildings and land that can be reused, but currently that is probably the only plot of land that can be the catalyst for the area. I live in the southtowns and frequently use Ohio to go between rte 5 and downtown. Even on a sunny day that area is gray and gloomy.
    The structure in current state is blight, if the warf and siding were intact I’d think differently, but the view from route 5 says it all.

  • grad94

    except that when a demolition controversy erupts, no one -ever- compliments the preservation side for picking a good battle and no one ever criticizes the tear-down side for picking a bad battle. that is what makes this rhetoric suspect.

  • brownteeth

    I agree with you except in this situation. No one is tearing this down for a shovel ready lot or a parking lot. That’s why I was disgusted with the cigar store being torn down on Main street.
    However when a local developer with a good track record of saving / reusing historic buildings wants to tear this down specifically to immediately build something that will arguably better serve the community at large and be profitable for him then it’s hard to argue for saving this building which has already collapsed.
    I will back saving Trico, Fairmont Creamery, EB Holmes building, etc. all day long. The other major issue I have with this situation is that it was apparently locally landmarked AFTER Savarino bought it and after it collapsed. That’s as shady as a midnight demo and will burn bridges with the few developers who are willing to save historic buildings. We don’t have many of those developers to begin with as you know.

  • brownteeth

    You’re missing the point and off-base, I almost always take the preservation side, except here, hence “picking my battles wisely”. It’s not a matter of which battle I’m likely to win as much as it is which one is truely worthy of the effort when there are so many battles to fight.
    Focus your energy on EB Holmes across the street, or Trico. Let Savarino have this one. Perhaps that will ensure 500 Seneca and the Livery get completed in a timely manner, two other historic projects arguably more significant than this.

  • brownteeth

    I have a question, is this really the only remaining freight house of this era/design left on Buffalo’s waterfront? What about the very similar brick buildings at the foot of the Black Rock Canal lock where Rich Marine is? What about the collosal brick version of this on the other side of the Buffalo river just south of General Mills?

  • impressingagent

    Too bad they couldn’t build these 5 story condos on a downtown lot. All those lots near pierce arrow that look like they are on word muncher.

  • Pegger

    What do you think of the views these proposed condos will have considering all the glass and elevation the upper floors will have? I ask as I am rarely down there these days. As someone who traverses the area routinely, you are by far more qualified to offer an opinion.

  • sonyactivision

    Five years ago it would have been inconceivable to build anything nice on this plot. But the Freight House could have been stabilized and fully restored since it’s of such “historic significance”.

  • BornInTheWard

    Why should the Rod & Gun Club donate land that they recently purchased? As a member of that club, I can tell you that we are heavily invested in our property, and I see us staying put for the foreseeable future.

  • Freddy Olms

    Preservationist need to pick their battles in order to be taken seriously. I sympathize with preservationists and appreciate the work they do in preserving historically significant architectural gems that enhance our city. But frivolous obstructionism like this only puts their whole cause in jeopardy. If they continue to block progress for the sake of preserving an irrelevant, crumbling freight house no one will listen when they try to defend the truly important buildings.
    Preservationists also have to use common sense and realize that Mr. Savarino owns this land, not the open land near it (much of which is owned by Carl Paladino, who is planning similar developments). When they make claims that he should leave this freight house alone to be redeveloped and simply build somewhere else they are putting on full display their ignorance of how the real world works and once again hurting their own credibility.

  • Pegger

    I see your argument very clearly as you have laid it out in general terms. However, it seems to me that you have a lot of good company in your camp.
    But, IMO, I don’t see two opposites (or camps as I called them). I visualize the dynamic as a continuum between two seemingly polar extremes. One one end, you might find those who want to tear everything down to start over completely. On the other extreme, you would find those who would save every structure to the point of rebuilding even fire damaged structures that have no purpose or use.
    It is unlikely to find any individual or group toward either extreme. Being a line (the continuum), people fall somewhere on a point between. Most, as expected with population distributions, would fall somewhere in the central area. So, I find it interesting to plot contributors on this line based on their comments and the positions they seem to express. Not scientific by any means, but it entertains me during the vast chunks of time I have in retirement.
    It is clear that others do the same in their own ways and end up classifying others in an either or manner. But, in fact, the differences in our opinions are far more nuanced than that. I would be hard pressed to find any one who agreed with me on each specific property that might come under scrutiny. Opinions in the “preservation camp” don’t always agree when the subject gets down to brass tasks. Most people would call me a preservationist since I tend to want to take a critical look at each instance thru my own colored glasses. It’s so easy! But, what I think has no bearing on outcomes because I am not a professional in this field and, other than commenting in this blog, my decisions will have no impact. I have no influence in the decision making process.
    But there are many who participate in this blog that are in positions that do make decisions that all of us collectively will have to live with. Their choices impact everyone. All we have to do is look at photos to see what is no longer there. Many of these structures, neighborhoods, and regions were often demolished for reasons that appeared benificial to the greater good. We now know that this has led to unintended consequences that negatively impacted the whole city.
    These people of power and influence fall in different places on this continuum. Some are elected, some are appointed, some work in related fields. Some are paid, some are volunteers. I would hope that those who participate in some official capacity have the interest and expertise to be very knowlegable. To lump them into a group would be doing them a great disservice.They often do not agree amongst themselves.
    But I think we can all agree that those who sit on related boards and committees do very important work. We can offer our opinions and perhaps our input in places like BRO and influence them in that way. But it is they that must ultimately determine the future of the built environment that is worth salvaging. That’s not easy in a shrinking city with limited resources.

  • JohnMarko

    Oh good grief. How many “education centers” or “museums” – devoted to what exactly again – paid by whom – does this city need!
    A viable, pleasant enought looking project comes along, and all people do is shit on it.
    The existing building may be salvagable according to one person’s opinion, and it may be valid, but unless the OWNER of the property WANTS to do it, or if some as yet unidentified persons step forward to – what exactly now – FORCE THE OWNER TO SELL/DO AS THEY DEMAND? – this sketchy at best idea is rediculous. Last I heard, we live in a capitalist private ownership country, where a person – within reason – gets to do what they wish once they own a parcel of land.
    Even if you all got enough money to pay OVER WHAT THE OWNER PAID FOR HIS PROPERTY, then and only then can you determine the direction of this development.
    I’m glad my properties have not made the attention of all these armchair critics all these past years or I’d be out of a job, as would a lot of persons.
    Ya know, I hear an old stinking outhouse that fell over is available for redevelopment, but I’m not sayin where it is, because my clients want modern plumbing for once in their lives. This isn’t the Prudential Building or DWMartin Houses!
    This has sat for – what – over a hundred years as a decrept pile of slivers and rust, an eyesore – and now that someone wants to clean up this mess and do something positive, NOW, SUDDENLY, all you armchair experts (without cash) all howl and cry. Any ONE of you could have done something YOURSELF to “save” this pile of crap – but YOU haven’t. Sorry – TOUGH!
    Move on to a more valuable battle – like prodding the owners of the Statler to keep that project moving, or getting good old Palladino to START on his Court Street building already.

  • Malone_C

    While I agree with you, your central thesis is incorrect. We live in an increasingly Communist state with an administration whose basic tenant is to get everyone sucking off the government tit so they then own them. Its a form of progressive slavery.

  • DOC

    This post has gotten out of hand. Tear the GD thing down.