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918 Main: Our Poor History of Protecting Our Legacy

The City’s track record of protecting historic properties that it owns is less than stellar. Deterioration of the Woodlawn Street rowhouses is well documented at fixbuffalo. In Allentown, a court order was needed to spare the row of commercial buildings at the corner of Main and Virginia that First Amherst Development is renovating into a mixed-use complex. Further up the block is 918 Main, commonly known as the Summit Building, a brick and masonry structure built in 1891 whose time may be running out.

The City-owned 918 Main is a four-story brick building located next to the Red Jacket Apartments near Allen Street. It was a former carriage manufactory built in by Cyrus K. Porter, a well-known Buffalo architect. While the front facade is intact, neighbors say there is a spectacular waterfall inside during heavy rains. In 2004 the City applied to the Buffalo Preservation Board for approval to demolish the building reportedly to provide parking for nearby firm Zeptometrix. It is unknown whether the request was turned down or withdrawn. Chris Jacobs took a run at renovating the structure in late 2004 but decided to pass.
In what may be the building’s last hope, the building at 916 Main was sold in February to Robert Wulbrecht. The new owner is reportedly eyeing conversion of the three-story building into apartments. It remains to be seen if the developer is interested 918 Main which is interconnected his building. Zeptometrix’s appetite for parking remains as the firm is rumored to be looking at demolishing the Victorian red brick mansion at 878 Main Street. This stretch of Main bordering Allentown and the Medical Campus is undergoing a transformation: 844-64 Main is being renovated into 29 apartments, the mansion at 888 Main is to be restored and reopened as a restaurant, and Hospice recently moved into a building at 892 Main. Time will tell if 878 and 918 Main will be around to see the rebirth of their neighborhood.

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