If there is one building that has been on the collective mind of architect fans who are familiar with Downtown Buffalo’s ongoing resurgence, it’s gotta be the former Hotel Touraine on Delaware Avenue. This morning a Buffalo Rising reader sent along an inquiry asking if and when we would see the day when this iconic building would be restored into apartments and retail that would help to contribute to the rebirth of the city. From JS:
Now that Greystone building is finished, and Uniland’s new building is going up at Delaware and Chippewa, what about doing something with the old Hotel Touraine, which is now a subsidized apartment building? I walk by it every day, and there’s always a mess on the sidewalk — embarrassing. Who owns it? Will it be bought and restored? History can be found here. Would LOVE to see it restored!
Well JS, there is both good news and bad news regarding the Touraine. The former owner of the building passed away about a year ago (don’t worry, I’m not implying that that is the good news), and apparently his family is now in possession of the landmark (that’s not the good news either).
First off, the bad news is that the building is subsidized by governmental Housing Assistance Payments (HAP). The good news is that those payments do eventually expire. More bad news is that HAP contracts are usually longterm, and the Government loves to overpay for apartments that are not worth nearly the payment amounts. Meaning that basically there is no incentive for the building owners to sell a building such as this, even though I do know that there are plenty of developers who have taken an interest in the Touraine.
As for the interior of the historic building, one developer told me that he felt that the interior would need to be gutted in order to turn it into residential, which is unfortunate considering the fantastic images that show what the place used to look like.