The owner of 145 Middlesex Road is seeking to tear down the existing residence and construct a new one. Chrisanne Grimaldi is working with Albert V. Randaccio Builder Inc. on the project. The Preservation Board on Thursday will review the demolition permit for the home which was built in 1951 and designed by Melvin Morris.
According to the Preservation Board application filled out by the contractor, the residence is in “fair condition” but has “poor design” and is “an eyesore and neighbors hate it.”
The design for the replacement residence was not provided to the Preservation Board.
The tear-down phenomenon is relatively rare in Buffalo where it is more common to see homes substantially remodeled. Elsewhere, the demolition of old homes to make way for newer, larger ones is so pervasive that many cities and close-in suburbs are struggling with the results. Modest homes, commonly single-story ranches, are replaced with larger homes, typically two-stories. Communities across the country have been tweeking their zoning laws to place height, bulk and setback restrictions on the new builds.
Without design guidelines, the newly built homes are frequently incompatible in height, scale, massing and materials of existing homes (oftentimes described as “McMansions”). Existing residents may decry the craze, complaining about the destruction of old homes and neighborhood character.
But the owner claims support from neighbors for the new build on Middlesex. From the cover letter dated October 9 and signed by Alan Randaccio, president of Albert V. Randaccio Builder Inc.:
My customer and current owner, Chrisanne Grimaldi, would like to tear down the existing single family home and built a new home on the site that will be much more fitting with the style and integrity and value of the neighborhood. The current home is disliked by the entire neighborhood because it is not of the same quality, style and design of the rest of this beautiful neighborhood. They expressed this to Chrisanne as she knows many people in the area.
The new home will be fitting in design, scale and value with the rest of the neighborhood and we look forward to getting started as soon as possible before the weather turns.
The replacement of an existing single-family residential structure with a newly-constructed home can have serious implications to existing neighborhood character. The most obvious impact of teardowns in existing neighborhoods is the loss of older houses that become “scrape-offs” because they are seen as outdated or too small. Perhaps even more damaging are the replacements for these demolished homes: massive, out-of-scale new structures that completely ignore the existing character of the neighborhood.
There has been new construction in the immediate neighborhood in recent years. Four new homes were built along Middlesex Road at Lincoln Parkway on the grounds of the Miller Mansion, sold by Nichols School, split by developer Brad Randaccio, and resold.
A large home was built at the northwest corner of Middlesex and Meadow roads on the site of an older home (below).
A new residence is now underway on a previously vacant .45 acre lot at 136 Middlesex (below).
In a startling tear-down battle in 2008, Sue Ann Simonin received City approvals to demolish a 1940’s ranch at 25-27 Rumsey that she purchased in 2007 for $237,000 and construct a much larger home. The existing house was demolished and Simonin began construction on the new residence but then sold the property before work was finished to a neighboring property owner for $650,000. The half-built house was torn down.