Redevelopment plans for the battered Vernor Building at Main and Goodell may be off. Word has it that First Amherst Development has pulled the plug on its plans to purchase the property, demolish the building, and redevelop the site with 100-125 residential units. Apparently the would-be developer has been unable to come to purchase terms with the current owner, David Shifrin of Cleveland. In the meantime, First Amherst is continuing its work renovating 844-64 Main Street into 29 rental units plus commercial space.
The Vernor Building at 752 Main Street was built in 1903 as a showroom for Pierce-Arrow automobiles. Redevelopment plans for the long-vacant building have come and gone for the past twenty years. Current owner Shifrin, convicted in Buffalo Housing Court for allowing the building to decay, has made no attempt to shore up the building. It is unknown if he’ll move forward with demolition plans on his own, continue working on a potential deal with First Amherst, or look for another developer to bail him out.
First Amherst had agreed to purchase the property on the condition that the Buffalo Preservation Board sign-off on a demolition permit. The Board, after hearing arguments to either save the building or at least the facade, reluctantly agreed that the building was beyond repair and approved of the demolition in August. With First Amherst now backing away from their plans, the future of this key downtown property is in flux.
Clover Management, redeveloper of the Sidway Building across the street, has plans for a 36-unit condo project at the vacant Schmidt property next to Vernor. At one time, Clover expressed interest in the Vernor property for a larger project.