Get ready for another emergency demo. Now it’s Ed Rudnicki’s blacksmith shop (120 South Park) in the Cobblestone District. We’ve made the phone calls. We’ve watched as the trees took root on the rooftop. We’ve watched as mysterious machines pulled up in the middle of the night to take down some of the last remaining bits and pieces of the district. Did The City do a single damned thing to fight the preservation battle on this one? NO! BRO’s offices were located next door. We took the photos. We shouted from the rooftops. We delivered the message loud and clear: The building owner wants this building GONE. An incredible example of demolition by neglect if there ever was one. Moments ago I got a phone call from Tim Tielman telling me that Judge Nowak has signed off on an emergency demolition because the owner of the building brought in his own engineer to declare the building a danger to the public… his own engineer! Was the Preservation Board even notified by City attorneys? No! According to Tim Tielman:
“The City attorneys should be notifying the Preservation Board that the property is jeopardy. The City’s attorney is in our building and they notified no one!!! I’ve spoken to The City regarding this building several times. The owner has done nothing to shore up the structure and his only anticipation is one of demolition. This is not only a textbook case of demolition by neglect by the owner, The City might as well be an accomplice. The owner has done everything in defiance of the law and in the end he is getting a landmark building demolished. His goal is achieved. The owner hired his own engineer! The City was not in court with its own engineer offering methods of mitigating the conditions. Does Nowak not know that this is a city landmark? Maybe he doesn’t. The City attorney who was sitting in the courtroom should know. It’s outrageous that we have not been notified. The building dates back to 1872… the canal era!! Its physical presence is needed in the Cobblestone District. The owner started an illegal demolition of ‘The Smithy’ two years ago. It was reported to The City and they were supposed to monitor it… I went by at a later date and it had been demolished, again without any notification to the Preservation Board. Now the owner is back looking to knock down the blacksmith building and he has even gone so far as to purchase the neighboring Phoenix Die Casting building and is reportedly interested in taking that building down as well. The irony is that he owns the Cobblestone Bar next door and is exploiting the historic name of the district. In the immediate neighborhood The City is spending over a hundred million dollars (proposed) to attract visitors, and yet The City will not spend a dime in enforcing its building code in this area in order to compel the property owners to keep up the infrastructure. The City must do its job in notifying the Preservation Board and it is asinine that they want to create fake historic infrastructure while letting the authentic buildings rot. Almost every other building was demolished in the urban renewal era. At this point it looks the owner can do anything he wants. The loss to the integrity of the district would just be devastating.”
Calls are out to attorneys for a temporary stay, but as of yet there is no answer due to the immediacy of the alert. Tim tells me that the owner could be lining equipment up right now. It could be halfway gone by morning. In order to vacate the emergency demolition order attorneys are needed to answer the call. Papers need to be served to the owner of the building… this demolition needs to be stopped! Please send me an email and I will pass along your email to Tim. Call Mayor Brown if you can. Call Franczyk (apparently he might actually care). We need an engineer to go into that building and make a recommendation for stabilization. We don’t need an emergency demolition… we need emergency repair. No one in City Hall wants to get these buildings out of the owners’ hands… they don’t want to complicate the issue. They would rather see the owner spend his or her own money to take down a building. And guess what? Some day when all of the politicians have left Buffalo and they have delivered us all of the parking lots that we can handle, then we’re left with a bunch of junk and they can retire on our own dime.
Entry Photo: Mike Calanan