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Livery Doomed?

This from a BRO reader, concerning the livery stables on Jersey Street:
I live on Little Summer that backs up to the stable and some of these folks are scrambling to get stuff out of their garages because those turn of the century wood structures will probably not last a collapse. Last night we were moving people’s snow blowers and bikes into our garage while some were making arrangements to sleep elsewhere.
I commented a while ago in the thread – (Under the name Quinn) that we needed to get on these people because it was shedding bricks. I represent people in Housing Court all the time for minor little things but this outraged me (and of course my neighbors).
I think the subject or why the [owners] were not in court over this and of course the [recently demolished] Wadsworth property needs to be REALLY addressed. Many times I have seen the subject approached on BR but someone needs to really look into this.

The building in question was described in this Buffalo News story.
Our reader isn’t the first person to bring the building and its poor state to our attention. Last year in a conversation with architect Joe Kennedy, he explained how he had wanted to buy the building himself rather than see it ruined. The asking price of $400K was more than Kennedy was willing to pay due to the piles of money that would have to go into its restoration. This was a cost that according to Kennedy, would grow each year as the building sat in disrepair and began to crumble. That day came yesterday.
Now, according to preservationist Tim Tielman of the Campaign for a Greater Buffalo, the city has a $280K contract for emergency demolition of the stables. He plans on attending a resident meeting tonight that will address a plan for the building. “It will cost a lot less that $280,000 to truss the building, but then we need a plan beyond that,” Tielman said. “The neighbors don’t want it down. Little Summer would be a completely different street without the stables there.”
Tielman is referring to the small cottage homes on Summer Street that sit in the shadow of the stables and enjoy the privacy the enormous building provides them, forming a nearly hidden community.
Rich Tobe Commissioner of Economic Development and Permit and Inspection Services said that he has called for an emergency demolition, albeit reluctantly. “We were working with the current owner, looking for compliance to violations and taking passive steps.” On May 8th, Tobe’s staff issued a letter of violation to the stable’s owner, Robert Freudenheim, who responded that the building (owned through Leopold LLC), had a buyer and that the sale was imminent.
“On May 22, Freudenheim was informed that due to his inaction, emergency measures would be taken. At that point Freudenheim agreed to have a structural engineer look at the stables, but as of the time the bricks began to fall at 6PM last night, work had yet to commence,” according to Tobe.
“We tried to get him to comply, knowing that the building was in a serious situation,” Tobe said. “This is one of everybody’s favorite buildings, but we’ve evacuated people from nearby houses, and we have no choice but to order the emergency demolition. This morning I met with Mr. Freudenheim to give him a baseline price for the demo.
“We went in the building this morning, and Mr. Freudenheim had a structural engineer with him. I told him I wanted to hear his plan and schedule along with evidence of financial resources. After about an hour, he said he wasn’t able to free up the resources and that he wanted the building to be demolished by the city, saying that he would pay the city back. He didn’t see a way to save it. The fire marshall and I had to agree and declared it an emergency situation.
“We told the demolition contractor to proceed, and today a fence was put up. Tomorrow a safety barrier to protect the houses will go up. The demo will happen on Saturday or early next week,” Tobe stated.
“[The stables are] in an advanced state of collapse. This is a building with weathered wooden trusses dating back to the 1880s–exposed to the elements–wood bearing load, brick and no structural steel. When the truss broke, the strut attached to it crashed through three floors. When I went in the building today, the floors were pancaked and it looked like a bomb went off. There was something I couldn’t make out, and then I realized it was a VW Bug, standing on end and surrounded by debris.
“The wood was deteriorated. This is what my inspectors saw in early May,” Tobe said. “In other circumstances, we would wait, but not with people evacuated. I can’t wait months with evacuation orders in place.” Tobe cited the Summit Electric Building on Main Street as an example of a demolition they are able to hold off on because it doesn’t pose an immediate threat to surrounding buildings, and there is no evacuation order there.
Tobe plans to hold a press conference for the community at some point soon, and said it might be time to have some policy talks within his office. He concluded with, “I don’t declare emergencies quickly. It’s our policy to work with the building’s owner in every case we can. But this is due. There is no more time.”

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