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Wrecking Buffalo: 101 Depew Avenue Buyer Seeks Demo

The prospective buyer of 101 Depew Avenue is seeking Preservation Board approval to demolish it to construct a new single-family home on the lot. The 2,669 sq.ft. residence was built in 1912 and contains four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and two half-baths. It sits on a 10,018 sq.ft. lot and has been for sale with a current $269,900 asking price.

From the property listing:

Welcome to 101 Depew Avenue one of central parks diamonds in the rough. This home features 4 bedrooms, 3 and a half baths, master bedroom features and on suite private bath. This home features an opportunity of almost 3000 square feet. With historical characteristics Just waiting for you to reveal this beauty. Now open to Conventional mortgages purchaser must do any repairs as a result of appraisal and home inspection.

From the demolition application submitted by Rocco Delgrosso:

The current single family residential structure has fallen to dis-repair. Both the interior and exterior conditions of the structure would require significant expense to renovate and/or repair and replace each area to suitable condition. We hereby respectfully request permission to demolish the in place structure to pave way for construction of a new (architecturally consistent) single family home.

The Preservation Board will consider the request at its meeting next Thursday, March 23, in City Hall Room 901.

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Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • flancrest

    This property has been on the market since last August, initially up at $365k, eventually the price dropped to $270k. It certainly has been the victim of benign neglect. Demolition seems extreme but may be the most economically viable way to make the home livable. Hopefully the Preservation Board will demand they demonstrate that to be the case, though I wonder how they would do that.

    And if the developer is buying the land for even $250k, they’re going to have to build a million dollar home to recoup their costs if you figure another $50k-$100k for demo and site remediation and then significant construction costs.

    • Tbuff90

      “Demolition seems extreme but may be the most economically viable way to make the home livable.”

      That makes no sense how would tearing something down make it more livable?

      • flancrest

        Obviously demolition would be followed by replacement. Seems like you’re just being willfully ignorant here.

    • HousingBubble2

      give me a break, the home can be gutted down to the studs and rebuilt like every other historic gem in Buffalo. If you want to build a new home, go to the burbs.

  • breckenridge

    Here we go….

  • Cough and Weeze

    Can’t wait until the New Buffalo looks like a less wealthy version of Arlington Virginia.

    • Tim H

      ….we’re not close

  • Irishtcb

    How about the potential buyer try a little honesty, which is they have the means and are after the lot. It may “require significant expense to renovate and/or repair” but does anyone realy believe that the purchase price (at whatever can be negotiated) plus a full renovation is in anyway more expensive than the same purchase price + demolition expenses + design and construction of a similarly sized house? I can’t imagine that the new build, all in, costs less than $700k. You could strip the thing to the bare walls and put $250k into it and still beat the demo and new build cost by a pretty wide margin. Even if the new build is a palace, hard to imagine there is a break even point on market value when its done.

    This is the same thing that happened on Lafayette – its not that the house couldn’t be renovated – its that the owner/prospective owner has the money to burn and wants a new house.

    I suppose that you could also look at this as a positive, at least in a backhanded kind of way – have we perhaps (at least for a wealthy few) gotten to the point where people want both a new house and a city setting that they will spend this kind of cash to do so?

    • Captain Picard

      I couldn’t have said it better. The dishonesty is pretty transparent. Lying about it isn’t going to convince anybody who is opposed to your plan, and supporters will get behind you regardless of your motives.

      • BlackRockLifer

        Are you referring to Trump?

        • Captain Picard

          No, but it’s a good comparison.

      • MWood

        Dishonesty? The masonry is crumbling, the siding in shambles and the windows are outdated and share no alignment. There’s 50k without looking inside or checking the roof. Someone wants to buy a crap house on a nice block and rebuild, for goodness sake, get out of the way.

        • Captain Picard

          You seem new here.

          I typically favor “getting out of the way.” I’m simply saying that pretending the new build will cost less all-in than a full gut renovation is disingenuous. All it does is embolden those who were against you from the beginning. The key in situations like this is to do everything you can to get people to see it your way, especially when they’re not stupid.

    • Josh Robinson

      You nailed it. It’s not so much the loss of the historic home that bothers me as it is the false pretenses they come up with to justify it.

      It’s pretty obvious that the potential owners just want a new house on an uncommonly large lot in a great neighborhood. And that’s okay. Just stop with this “the house is decrepit and ready to fall down” nonsense.

      • rubagreta

        Yes, they are making it up. Because they have to. In a normal world, they would buy this dump, get a demolition permit, build a beautiful new house that does not need a variance, and that would be the end of it. But not in Buffalo. Somehow, just because it was built in 1912, it has some historic significance. It does not.

    • OldFirstWard

      Or call one of those home saver renovation programs on HGTV.

  • G Orty

    Tear down all Tudors!

    • Jordan Then

      Even mine?

      • Captain Picard

        I used to walk my dog past your house every day as a kid. Probably could have bought on Starin back then for like $90k!

  • Mytwocents

    I drive by this house daily and often walk my dog down Depew. It is easily the worst house on the street. Mostly because of the state of disrepair, but I’m also not a big fan of the look. Depew is one of the more beautiful streets in Buffalo. Big beautiful houses and big yards in a quiet neighborhood. I’m not one for the government being able to tell people what to do with their property, but it would be a shame to see a house go up that doesn’t rival the beauty of other homes on this street. I’m sure if they have the money to throw at buying the property, demolishing and rebuilding, that the replacement will fit right in.

  • concernedbuffalo

    Why should people continually get involved in what a private property owner wants to do with their land? There is no HOA contract to abide by. As long as it is up to code, they should get to do what they want.

  • Doug Wallis

    I too am a supporter of the govt not telling a homeowner what they can do excluding demolition. The govt should stay out of the interior of your home and the backyard for the most part but nearly everything west of Main Street is historic and demolition ruins the continuity of the neighborhood. Plus I don’t trust anyone to put up a home of equal or greater quality to what is there. They will just put up a cheap version of a home in Clarence.

    • eagercolin

      It’s amazing how history stops at Main Street.

      • BlackRockLifer

        According to ChristieLou history is only defined by straight white Christian males of western European descent that live west of Main St.

      • cs

        Its where the city stops for many, so makes sense the history stops there too.

        • Doug Wallis

          oh brother. The leftists are interjecting race again.
          -Is it not obvious that the city east of Main has been devasted by demolition worse than west of Main. It was not long ago they wanted to demolish the Larkin Warehouses and the Central Terminal.
          -Look at a historical map of the eastside.
          o There is only 1 Olmsted Park (Humboldt Park and the Parade) and 1 Olmsted Parkway (Humboldt Parkway). Olmsted was quoted as saying he thought there was too much distance between Humboldt Park and Cazenovia Park but there was very little he could do because of pre-existing industry. He also felt that Humboldt Parkway was the crown jewel of his parkway system.
          o Much of the eastside was filled with rail yards, cattle yards and meatpacking.
          HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS BUT THERE IS A POSSIBILITY WITH THE GENTRIFICATION OF THE MASTEN DISTRICT, THE CENTRAL TERMINAL AND THE LARKIN DISTRICT TO CHANGE FROM MAIN STREET TO JEFFERSON OR MICHIGAN OR FILLMORE (BUT MUCH MORE NEEDS TO HAPPEN). The preference for infill is still west of Main Street. Don’t blame me for the mistakes Buffalo has either made or allowed to happen for decades. Race didn’t create that perception. Reality created that perception.

          • cs

            I really wish you would have called me a snowflake, that’s my favorite generalized put down. But speaking of interjecting I was really taking about an ongoing frustration of mine with how many people see Buffalo as only downtown, Elmwood and Hertel. I live in Kaisertown which is largely ignored and could be a solid alternative for the “price out of Buffalo crowd”. But I mean since you so quickly jumped there, I think it kind of proves race is a factor with this mindset and should be addressed.

  • David A. Steele

    I have to laugh at this argument that complete demolition and complete reconstruction from scratch is more expensive than renovation.

    • rubagreta

      Laugh all you want. They’re making up this story because they have to. The truth is, “we bought the property with the intent of demolition and replacement.” Then what would you have said?

    • Wally Balls

      YOU DON’T LIVE HERE.

  • eagercolin

    It seems that the choice is between watching the house continue to deteriorate and putting up something new (and quite expensive) in its place.

  • Tim H

    I don’t think that you pay $269k for a house and $15k to knock it down, and then build another track home, ala Clarence. When you drop $300k in Buffalo, NY for what will essentially be a lot, you likely have full intentions of building something significant and unique, assuming that a single family home will be the replacement.

    There are quite a few Tudor style homes in the city. I support the improvement by replacement here, and think that the city will need to be very careful in working with individual homeowners of houses that are not part of a historic district.

  • rubagreta

    Zero problem with this. None. Nada. A Tudor house from 1912. Zero signficance.

  • robert biniszkiewicz

    I present the case for demolition: Chapin @ Potomac (SECorner): Buyers paid $500k+ for the privilege of tearing down and building new. New house looks great (much nicer than what was replaced).

    If someone wants the lot and will build nicer than what existed, why force them to instead try to retrofit the 100 year old house? There are many ways new builds can be superior to old houses.

    • OldFirstWard

      “I present the case for demolition”

      Don’t you hate being predicable. You should trademark that one.

    • HousingBubble2

      I disagree. Adding a new home mixed in with all of the old architecture looks stupid and takes away from the allure that people pay for the history of the property. I don’t think people are paying for location inasmuch as they are paying for the architecture and beauty of the street. Either way, this neighborhood is grossly overvalued. When mortgage rates or taxes go up the bottom will fall out.

    • Kristeen Webb

      I was going to say the exact same thing. That is a perfect reference. They did a lovely job on that house. Also, I am not sure why everyone is arguing that the repair will cost less than a rebuild – the potential buyer didn’t state that. Just that it would require significant expense…

    • Matt Marcinkiewicz

      walked by that house today; noted that it exceeded expectations

  • Let Buffalo Rise

    The fact of the matter is this is PRIVATE PROPERTY that has ZERO historic significance. If the owner wants to tear it down and build a ranch home in its place, while that isn’t desirable, it is totally within their right. There are not tax breaks being given.

  • BlackRockLifer

    This house is not particularly special or a great example of the Tudor style. I normally side with preservation but there seems to be a pattern of resistance to demolition of any home in the more affluent neighborhoods while many truly historic structures in less desirable locations are demolished with little pushback. I have seen so many great old structures demolished here in Black Rock, on the East Side and along the Niagara St corridor on the West Side. Of course economics and ROI are big part of the reason but preservation should be about preserving the best we have, not just those in the best locations

    • Bags

      Depew is my favorite street in the city. So many different styles of homes spanning a short length. This is indeed a crummy Tudor example so I’m not inherently opposed to a new build which will hopefully be an upgrade.

  • JKR

    Call Frank Gehry, build a condo.

  • Cvepo

    Just let them tear it tear it down for christ’s sake. I guarantee 98%of the commenters who are opposed to demolition didn’t even know this property existed until this article. If someone wants to build a consistent home in the neighborhood, why not let them. Only in mediocre Buffalo does this ever seem to be a problem…

    • BlackRockLifer

      Buffalo is far from mediocre.

      • S Mills

        Buffalo is pretty mediocre, actually.

        • Josh Robinson

          Our sports teams and government, perhaps. I would never describe our built environment as medicore though – even if it is a shadow of its former self.

          • Ivan Putski Jr

            yes,we’ve got ice bikes at the inner harbor now

  • foreverbflo

    F that!

    Not in that historic community. !!!

    That is one of Buffalos most unperverted and undisturbed gem communities.
    Step off MF. No way.

    You do it…?…. I know a guy….

    Go back to bed and take your meds.

  • HousingBubble2

    Paying this kind of money to even live on this street is a joke. Homes sell in this neighborhood for $700,000-$800,000 in a day! Home prices have more than doubled in the past 6-7 years.

    Please someone tell me what the draw is; nothing has fundamentally changed in this neighborhood in 75 years except maybe the Bethune lofts! Closet grocery store is Wegmans on Amherst St.

  • Louis Haremski

    Has anyone bothered to look at the photos from the real estate listing? Whatever architectural details that might have been there in 1912 are pretty much gone as a result of remodeling which has occurred since then. The house shares a driveway with a home to the east, while its main entrance is on the west. No matter how much a prospective buyer might want to devote to a renovation of this house, it will always be the ugliest house on the street, and perhaps in all of Central Park. The fact that it has remained on the market for as long as it has, at a price significantly lower than what other homes sell for in this neighborhood, should explain the lack of value in the property.

    Ten years ago a developer parceled off the property that had been the Nottingham Campus at the corner of Middlesex and Lincoln Parkway. The lots sold for approximately $250,000. It is not unreasonable to assume that a purchaser would pay about the same for a lot in Central Park and then proceed with construction of a new home.

    The Central Park Homeowners Association has described the prospective buyer as a current owner in Central Park who has engaged a builder that is also a member of the neighborhood. Is it so unbelievable that a family would want to remain in a neighborhood it loves, one of the strongest in the city, and build a house that conforms to neighborhood standards?

  • Can’t be Serious?

    Sorry folks,
    I have reread this article 4 times and I can’t find the basis for the dishonesty claim. No where in here does the potential owner claim that it would be cheaper. There is no reason to cast aspersions on this investor by saying things like “the purchase price (at whatever can be negotiated) plus a full renovation is in anyway more expensive than the same purchase price + demolition expenses + design and construction of a similarly sized house?”. It is simple not what they are contenting. Here is the exact quote from the buyer’s agent “The current single family residential structure has fallen to dis-repair. Both the interior and exterior conditions of the structure would require significant expense to renovate and/or repair and replace each area to suitable condition. We hereby respectfully request permission to demolish the in place structure to pave way for construction of a new (architecturally consistent) single family home.” No comment about saving money, just the point that there would be “significant expense to renovate and/or repair and replace each area to suitable condition”. All they are saying is that they would prefer to demolish and build a new structure.

    I can appreciate that others would prefer to see a renovation. I, personal, do not have a preference either way even though I live in the neighborhood. Let’s not get distracted by reading more into this than it is.

    • Mark H

      yes, exactly.. they NEVER say it would be a cheaper option, I assume in their mind the amount they would put in… they might as well just build a whole new house for an additional x amount of dollars.

      I’ve been inside that place, and both inside and out need total reno…. down to studs in some rooms.

  • Terrier1

    The new build on Chapin near the Sem fits in so well it looks like it’s been there since 1912! I was at an estate sale in that home several years ago and it looked like a lovely house to me – but who knows what was going on with the mechanicals.
    It’s a good thing, IMO, that someone has the funds and the desire to move into the city and upgrade the street.