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Staging The Powerhouse

You know that the city’s turned the corner when the urban aesthetic conversation begins to include buildings owned by utility companies. A brilliant idea has come to pass, which would see the National Grid-owned building at 996 Niagara Street outfitted with new dramatically arched windows. The community is asking that Assemblyman Sean Ryan go to bat for the initiative that would also see ‘The Powerhouse’ lit up at night.

The ‘Powerhouse’ is adjacent to the Prospect Hill historic neighborhood which will soon be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

If the idea was to come to pass, this striking building would help to add to the momentum of a street that is undoubtedly on a trajectory upwards. Members of the community are asking National Grid to play a part in the urban renaissance of the street by either installing new windows, or uncovering the ones that appear to be boarded up. No longer will we sit by and watch the prized building stock that we have retained sit idly by. There is no reason that National Grid should not step up and invest in civic pride, as so many others are already doing throughout the city. There could even be some historic tax credits to play with.


Ryan will hopefully rally behind this aesthetic endeavor. Once beautified, the building would seamlessly co-exist along with a number of nearby renovation projects already underway.

It’s time that we asked the utility companies in Buffalo to step it up and contribute to the livelihood of their respective neighborhoods. I can think of numerous buildings around the city that simply exist without owners giving any thought about potential design enhancements that could benefit their structures and in turn help to recharge the city. In the end, the utility companies could actually use these types of feel-good measures to market themselves as companies that actually care.

Now is the time. If you think that this is a good idea, please send an email to Josh Pennel at Sean Ryan’s office: All requests should be sent by April 15, 2016.

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Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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