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Author: Todd B.

Here’s a photo from last evening building at Chippewa and Pearl downtown – 392 Pearl Street (recently featured on BRO).

This is not on my usual route so I can’t say for sure what the whole project is here but it sure looks like somehow we still allow the idiocy that is Dryvit to be installed over an original facade, for what appears to be cosmetic reasons only. I wonder what trash heap they deposited the remnants of ornamental concrete caps the were formerly along the top of each “column.”  If there is no structural reason for this, is there any other reaction but “what the f$&k?”

I have no idea if the brick building has any historical significance or not, but trading an original, intact and unmolested brick facade for suburban sprawl 101 seems pretty stupid. I’m glad the owner is investing in the building, but what rock is he/she/they living under?

When you consider we as a community are both spending (or seeking to spend) millions to preserve our architectural heritage and discuss at length the character and fit of new buildings (Exhibit A: Gates Circle; Exhibit B: Elmwood & Bidwell), you have to wonder what the owner/developer/architect are thinking and who is watching the store at City Hall. Absolutely, stupendously amazing. 


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  • UrbanLove

    How can so many developers in Buffalo be so consistently bereft of taste and style? It’s breathtaking.

    • eagercolin

      Because they’re in business to ruthlessly pursue profits rather than impress self-styled tastemakers?

      • UrbanLove

        Too bad they can’t learn from other markets where developers realize that style and profits go hand-and-hand. And, too bad more of the populace, like you, doesn’t understand that as well.

        • eagercolin

          Profit and “style” can go hand in hand. So can profit and utilitarian ugliness. It depends on the product, the cost, the intended market, and a whole host of factors. But in every case, profit is the goal of these folks.

        • Johnny Pizza

          1) Where are those markets you speak of?
          2) If profits are driven by good style, wouldn’t the capitalist developers do exactly what you are saying? They didn’t become millionaires by making never ending poor business decisions, I can guarantee you that.

      • greenca

        How does the expense of adding the seemingly unnecessary dryvit add to profits? It would have been more profitable to leave it alone.

        • eagercolin

          I don’t know. I have to assume that the owner is making decisions based on some bottom line calculation rather than a desire to upset people.

          • greenca

            It could very well be a case of plain poor taste. Maybe the owner is spending the money to “modernize” the building for some reason, thinking it will look better.

          • Jordan Then

            That may be an unfounded assumption.

  • BuffalosFinest

    I shall withhold judgement until I see the final product

  • 300miles

    The work they recently did on the first floor covered up the Dryvit there, so I can’t believe they would now Dryvit the rest of the building. Have the owners been contacted for more info?

  • Jack

    A horrible dichotomy between the first floor and the upper floors.

  • greenca

    This is like welcome to 1960. Let’s make everything bland.

  • Vandra

    The retail base was the only thing wrong with this building, not the brick or detailing above the piers. Don’t waste money fixing what wasn’t broken with a weaker solution. Maybe we’re in for a surprise and it’ll turn out better than expected.

  • Ivan Putski Jr

    i use to feel that way about people who painted the interior wood work white (stair cases, wains coting, dental molding, window frames etc) of their victorian homes ….who would paint over natural wood? stupid people with bad taste ruining the origin design….now I kind of like it. Especially when contrasted with the hard wood floors. Not really the same thing here but I guess it all depends on what you like. My tastes are good and if yours are different, then you are dumb with bad taste.

  • Texpat

    This is truly horrible. Why? Maybe in 20 years someone can fix it.

    • Rational Thought

      When you own the building you can make it look how you want. Since you don’t you are perfectly welcome to go fornicate with yourself.

      • Texpat

        For someone operating under the moniker rational thought, this is truly the laziest intellectual response possible. Have you never had an opinion on something you don’t own? Do you own me since you have an opinion on my opinion? You don’t; so go fornicate yourself.

        • Matt Marcinkiewicz

          Clearly he must own Uber.

          • Rational Thought

            I’ll explain this for your tiny limited intellect.

            Do you own this building? No.
            Are they breaking any laws? No.
            Do you have any right to make any demands about the design of this building? No.

            Do I own Uber? No.
            Is Uber breaking the law. Yes on multiple counts.
            Do I have a right to complain. Yes because they are breaking multiple laws.

          • Matt Marcinkiewicz

            Ah, so subject-to-change legal status determines one’s right to complain. You’re quite the sophisticated philosopher.

  • Mark

    This facade was already mangled once. This kills any chance at going back. Here is a look back at what its supposed to look like:

    • Rational Thought

      God what an eye sore the original was. Good thing the current owners are correcting that mistake.

  • David A. Steele

    It is amazing that people will spend money to ruin a building like this. Then someone else is going to have to eventually spend money to fix it. Damned shame.

  • Captain Picard

    I will always support a developer over a whiny BRO know-it-all, but this makes very little sense to me.

  • MrGreenJeans

    People interested in History and Historical Preservation are a tiny minority, awash in a sea of Mencken’s Happy American Boobousie , who accept whatever crap is foisted on them as long as they get something tasty for dinner and still have a job tomorrow morning.

    • grovercleveland

      What a ridiculous world view you have.

    • LongGoneeee


      • Matt Marcinkiewicz


  • David Pastor

    Crap !

  • OldFirstWard

    So how does this abomination get through the Planning Board? Does anyone know the year this building was constructed? Not sure, but didn’t the Green Code prohibit the use of Dryvit as an exterior facade covering?

    It’s bad enough that the roof line was altered and the side by side double hung windows were replaced with those hideous single pane panels.

    • HousingBubble2

      just gotta grease the right palms

  • Rational Thought


    It’s they building they can do want ever they want it!

  • Joe Winiewicz

    I don’t get it. I liked the original look. Not a fan of dryvit unless it is covering cheap cinder block walls.

  • mightyNiagara

    great title. NOTTTTTTTT!

    man, this section of the street is so narrow and shrouded by density of other structures. ain’t nobody gonna nitpick at the choice of the facade, except you. damn. move along.

  • NorthBuf

    Power washing the brick would have been much cheaper.

  • Billybobn

    I pass this on my commute each day and have been excited for this unique project. When the brick started to be covered I was concerned, but the street level work has been new and transformative so far. Why assume the rest will not match the quality? Fingers crossed.

  • Flyguy2pt0

    I’ll hold any comment until the project is completed and even then its not my money, not my building and if it really matters the City powers that be ought to ensure City Codes or standards set a solid base for future projects so architectural horrors are less likely. This seems like premature panic without knowing the details. Ive seen similar things about yet to be completed projects in Buffalo panicking and spending a lot of energy on unfinished facades. The new Delaware North Building got all sorts of heat and panic for its parking ramp along S Elmwood because a portion of the way during construction it didn’t look like its rendering. This panic played out in A BR article I remember well. Absolutely ridiculous. Taking a façade change all the way to “suburban sprawl 101” is alarmist panic in my view and 100% first world “problems”. Other than a building material that is apparently not favored what exactly is changing about this building to make it “suburban sprawl”? Seems the bulk details of the structure aren’t changing at all. I don’t see large setbacks, large asphalt parking fields, etc its the same damn structure that’s been there who knows how long already. Are they reducing the height and use down to a one story sprawling strip plaza surrounded with acres of parking?

  • Bringing back Buffalo

    The bottom looks really good. I’ll hold final judgement until the project is complete.

  • Dan

    “Allowed” to ruin the facade? It’s their building. They can do with it what they want, so long as it doesn’t jeopardize the integrity of the surrounding buildings. Your ‘diamond-shoes-are-too-tight’ aesthetic concerns are immaterial. The fact that you happen to be right – it will be hideous – is not a cause for action on behalf of the City.

  • Jeff Brown

    Wait, we don’t know what this is going to look like?

    This is like walking into a house mid-build: I’M NOT GOING TO LIVE IN A HOUSE MADE OF UNFINISHED DRYWALL!

    No kidding.

  • L.Sabo

    I wonder at times why the go to material to dress up a building is dryvit? In case of this building why not add taricotta / cement elements to add architectural interest? I think changing out the modern commercial windows to ones that simulate multi-pane lights would do equally as much to change this buildings appearance.

  • 300miles

    I would agree that Dryvit would be awful and should not be allowed anymore, but I don’t see any proof provided here that it’s what they’re doing. I don’t think it’s right for BRO to post inflammatory articles without even asking what is being done. Earlier this year, the owner covered up the old Dryvit on the first floor with wood and everyone was happy about that. Some effort should have been made to understand their plans first before posting this.

  • Chuck Banas

    The original brick and ornamental capitals were beautiful, appropriate, and in nearly-perfect condition. Who on Earth thought that a Dryvit/vinyl facade was a good idea?

  • Chuck Banas

    Also, under the GreenCode, which is now in full effect, Dryvit (EIFS) and vinyl are prohibited. I wonder how this one got through?

    • BufChester

      This project has been underway for months, so it seems likely it was fully approved before the GreenCode was in force.

  • HousingBubble2

    most of the new buildings downtown are ugly and do not blend in with our urban fabric….I realize its nice to mix the new with the old, but some of these buildings have idiotic designs.