Ellicott Development is seeking Preservation Board approval to demolish portions of The Cooperage complex at 55-59 Chicago Street to redevelop the site for a mix of new uses.
From the developer’s application:
The property is comprised of three main structures that are interconnected; the Mill Building (ca. 1870), the Forge Building (ca. 1910-12) and the Pattern Building (1913). While we have plans to save and fully restore the Pattern Building, which is in the best shape of the three structures, we need to demolish the Mill and Forge Buildings. The Mill Building has suffered nearly complete collapse of the 4th floor and roof and the eastern exterior wall has fully collapsed. The internal wood structure has been exposed to the elements for many years because of the crumbling exterior and is beyond any reasonable level of rehabilitation. The Forge Building has also suffered irreversible damage. The entire 3-story structure is currently held up by pipe scaffolding erected by the previous owner. The internal structure can no longer support itself. Upon removal of the scaffolding the building will collapse.
Our conclusion with respect to the condition of the Mill and Forge Buildings is echoed by the Preservation League of NYS who has been involved in the project with the previous owner since 2008. An engineer and preservation architect working on behalf of the Preservation League of NYS recently assessed the two buildings and determined that they are both in an extreme state of deterioration and cannot be saved. While this is a difficult realization for the Preservation League of NYS, they do support these findings.
We are currently working with a prospective and well-established restaurant tenant to anchor the Pattern Building along with a portion of new construction in place of the Mill and Forge Buildings. Other anticipated uses at the property include retail and residential. We anticipate submitting plans to the City of Buffalo Planning Board within the next 30-45 days.
A letter from Virginia G. Searl of Bero Architecture dated September 27, 2016 concluded that “while the Mill and Forge [buildings] are interesting and significant their condition is extreme and unsafe. It is unlikely that the structure of either building is sufficiently stable to allow the erection of shoring required for repair reconstruction efforts. It is my opinion that these two structures are not candidates for salvage and rehabilitation.”
Jensen Engineering concurred in a September 27, 2016 letter that “strongly” recommended both be demolished.
The Preservation Board meets June 15 at 3 PM, City Hall Room 901.