Demolition work on the GLF Elevator on Ganson Street has stalled. With no wrecking in at least five weeks, it makes you wonder if there ever was a real threat from the building that would warrant the City’s granting of an emergency demolition of the structure.
The stoppage of demolition work has left some in the preservation community to believe the statements by Ron Chapin of property owner Ontario Specialty Contracting to the Preservation Board and the Common Council, and their lawyer’s interpretation of the engineer’s report in court, were lies.
The buildings were said to be an imminent danger to employees, but the driveway between the office and the mill never closed, even during active demolition. Further, the only section of the mill building not yet demolished, the section that supposedly posed “imminent danger” and was at the core of the emergency demolition order, is the one that is closest to the office.
Asks Tim Tielman of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo, “If the Wheeler Elevator was also in imminent danger of collapse, why has the owner punched holes in it, resulting in the cantilevering of the bin tops and part of the work house? To me, this demonstrates the soundness of the structure and the genius of the design.”
Why punch holes in the elevator? For the same reason the owners of the Marine Hospital on Main Street (now a Sisters’ Hospital parking lot), the Squier Mansion on Main Street, and the Riverside Men’s shop, all did: attempt to inflict irreversible damage and create “fait accompli” which renders opposition to further demo moot.
At Riverside Men’s, the only section which was immediately demolished was the newest, soundest, Art Moderne section. City Permit and Inspection Services head Jim Comerford visited the site with the demo contractor on a Friday, and by the subsequent Monday the building was down.
“What bothers me is the impunity with which people can make false statements and get away with it, and the Brown Administration’s complicity in all this,” says Tielman.
Photos by Bruce Jackson