When it comes to historic restoration of iconic architecture in Buffalo, Swiatek Studios is on the forefront of some of the most recognized developments underway. Between the restoration of Shea’s Theater and the North Park Theatre (the original Shea’s), the Swiatek family is leading the charge to preserve some of the area’s most treasured landmarks. Buffalo is fortunate to have a family business of this sort, which has been in operation since 1967 repairing and restoring art glass, statuary, plaster, murals, etc.
Having a hands-on family-operated restoration business in Buffalo is one thing. Having a city that is finally on the rise is another. Thankfully we are now hitting strides where a company such as Swiatek is able to keep busy working on long overdue restoration projects. “It’s a great time to be in the restoration business,” said co-partner Brett Swiatek, “The mistakes of the ‘60’s, 70’s, and ‘80’s, when buildings were only good for their functionality, are now being revisited by folks who want to experience the aesthetics once again. We’re excited that this trend is taking hold here in Buffalo and throughout the nation!”
Despite Buffalo’s stagnant economic growth in years past, Swiatek Studios was able to garner enough work to stay in the game. “We were primarily a church painting company in our earlier years, but now the scope of our work has expanded to such large-scale projects as Shea’s,” stated Henry Swiatek, Jr., co-partner, and father to Brett. “When you approach these unique structures, you have already done many hours of work, looking over historic records, getting to know the story that was told by the paintings, statues, and stained glass that create a unique narrative. We have so many examples of these one-of-a-kind edifices in the Buffalo area and I am privileged to have been a part of the restoration of these incredible masterpieces.”
Steady work has been underway at Shea’s Theater for a number of years now, and the community is reaping the rewards every time a production lifts the curtain. And what could have been a complete let down for North Buffalo (the closing of North Park Theatre), has instead led to a spectacular transformation within the building – something that no one ever dreamed possible. “We uncovered an incredible series of stained glass windows that were covered up by previous ownership and are now restoring them at our studios and will return them to the North Park. People will really marvel at their beauty when they see these re-installed in the theatre,” continued Henry.
As much as we would like to keep all of Swiatek Studio’s resources working on Buffalo buildings, the company has also embarked upon a number of other restoration projects that include restoring Louis Comfort Tiffany’s masterpiece, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Auburn, NY and St. Catherine’s cathedral (Ontario, Canada). Anytime that we can get some of our pros out in the field helping other cities to tackle significant restoration issues, that bodes well for everyone. Let’s hope that the local restoration trends continue, as a number of developers finally come around to preservation measures, rather than demolition contracts.
See more of Swiatek Studios’ work on Facebook, including its amazing Assumption Church renovation work. All photos in this post are of the North Park Theatre on Hertel Avenue