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Buffalo’s Central Terminal Selected for 2018 World Monument Watch List

World Monuments Fund (WMF) has announced that the Central Terminal, located on Buffalo’s East Side, has been selected for the 2018 World Monument Watch List (WMWL). We bet that the Urban Land Institute (ULI) could not have predicted that? WMF focuses on identifying at-risk buildings that present “unique conservation opportunities.” While this is excellent news, because it draws additional attention to the building, it’s only a matter of course for Buffalonians who have been awaiting anxiously the day when someone would step in with a development plan.

Buffalo’s Central Terminal is one of 25 sites spanning more than 30 countries and territories, dating from prehistory to the twentieth century.

The Central Terminal came close to landing a substantial reuse when it was presented as one of the prime sites for the new Amtrak station. Instead, it lost out in the end, much to the chagrin of the Buffalo populace. Around that same time, developers Harry Stinson and Doug Swift took a swing at it, but apparently the team lost out to the incredulous decision of conducting more studies, which is why the ULI team came to town.

The Central Terminal was one of two sites in the US, as selected by the WMWL, adding even more significance to the designation. Not only did the terminal’s architectural and the historic heritage come into play, the potential of the site as a future economic and cultural catalyst was also taken into consideration.

“By building an international coalition, the World Monuments Watch protects both the sites themselves and the shared history they embody,” said Joshua David, President & CEO, WMF. “We may be best known for the excellence of our conservation practices, but the human impacts of our work ultimately mean the most. Sites like the 25 on the 2018 Watch are where we come together as citizens of the world and renew our commitments to justice, culture, peace, and understanding.”

The 2017 event season saw upwards of 40 events taking place at the terminal. Despite the lack of a development plan, there is still a relatively decent amount of activity taking place within the hulking Art Deco wonder.

“We are honored and flattered to be included on this hugely important list from the World Monuments Fund. We want to thank the WMF for honoring us and we look forward to working with them to help move our preservation projects forward,” said Jim Hycner, chairman of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation (CTRC). “This recognition adds to the amazing momentum the Terminal is seeing right now, including strong community support, the ULI study and backing from such leaders as Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Howard Zemsky from Empire State Development. We could not be more excited for the Terminal’s future.”

Full List – 2018 Watch Sites

  1. Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico
  2. Government House, St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
  3. Sirius Building, Millers Point, Sydney, Australia
  4. Ramal Talca-Constitución, Talca Province, Chile
  5. Grand Theater, Prince Kung’s Mansion, Beijing, China
  6. Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, Alexandria, Egypt
  7. Takiyyat of al-Gulshani, Cairo, Egypt
  8. Potager du Roi, Versailles, France
  9. Post-Independence Architecture of Delhi, India
  10. Al-Hadba’ Minaret, Mosul, Iraq
  11. Lifta, Jerusalem, Israel
  12. Amatrice, Italy
  13. Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium, Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan
  14. Jewish Quarter of Essaouira, Morocco
  15. Sukur Cultural Landscape, Madagali Local Government Area, Nigeria
  16. Historic Karachi, Pakistan
  17. Cerro de Oro, Cañete Valley, Peru
  18. Tebaida Leonesa, El Bierzo, León, Spain
  19. Souk of Aleppo, Aleppo, Syria
  20. Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, Thailand
  21. Blackpool Piers, Blackpool, United Kingdom
  22. Buffalo Central Terminal, Buffalo, New York, United States
  23. Alabama Civil Rights Sites, Alabama, United States
  24. Old City of Ta’izz, Ta’izz, Yemen
  25. Matobo Hills Cultural Landscape, Matobo, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe

Lead image: CTRC

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. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • Elizabeth Giles

    Let’s see if we can add this to Buffalo and Rochester’s bid for Amazon HQ2. Amazon HQ2 @ Central Terminal could bring on high speed rail between Buffalo and Rochester – and beyond to Toronto and NYC. This would create the huge metropolis Amazon is seeking – with cheaper workforce and real estate – and that binational bonus. How fast would that scuttle plans for the downtown Amtrak station?? To say nothing of bringing on the long-awaited build-out of our 46-mile Metro Rail system and even the Belt Line. (Central Terminal sits at the intersection of all of the above!)

    • videobruce

      How many corporations even consider building within a city? Very few.

      • Elizabeth Giles

        All corporations who want to employ educated Millennials want urban locations, sir. The challenge in existing large metros is the high cost of available land within the city. Not a problem in Buffalo!

      • Johnny Pizza

        You’re right Bruce, all those millions of square feet of office space in places like NYC, Boston and LA are just empty space. Nobody builds in cities!!

    • Mr. B

      Part of Amazon’s requirements for its HQ2 is a high-speed or light rail system that already exists, not one that has the potential to be built.


      • Elizabeth Giles

        Ours already has the disused publicly-owned rail tracks at the ready: no one’s home has to come down, no land purchased. All we’d need is the money – and Amazon is looking for public investment as part of the deal.

    • OldFirstWard

      Too bad Buffalo, Rochester, and Toronto could not divide the headquarters into three hub locations with transit links and other synergies seamlessly connecting the three locations. 50,000 jobs is too much for any one community and could literally ruin our way of life.

      Sometimes you have to think outside the “Amazon box” and make your case.

  • videobruce

    It’s too bad it wasn’t on the 2016 watch list as there would of been a better chance circumvent this pre-decided choice where to build a new station. One crammed in under the 190 on Exchange St.

    • Elizabeth Giles

      Hear, hear!

  • Tahooter

    Wasn’t an RFP (suppose to be) issued (by CTRC) after ULI visited? I believe Stinson/Swift/Rich intended to resubmit their proposal.

  • macnak

    At least we sre in good company….

  • David Pastor

    Detroit’s Terminal would have made the list, but even Detroit is starting to rebuild
    theirs. So sad for Buffalo.

    • Louis Tully

      ?? You mean recent talk about bringing passenger service back to Michigan Central, or was there something else? That would be great, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for Matt Moroun.

    • Mr. B

      LOL — only on BRO can having a structure named to a prestigious list be considered “sad for Buffalo” . . .


  • Ra Cha Cha

    I align more with what CTRC Board Chair Jim Hycner says toward the end of this post. He’s clearly not wringing his hands over what happened earlier this year.

  • CS Hunters

    This designation helps the Terminal and Board communicate to a wider audience. It puts the Terminal in a light that validates its importance from an independent source with a global view and breadth of knowledge, one where our political representatives and funding organizations need to pay attention to. Its goes beyond a paid study and focus.

    The Buffalo/Rochester Amazon package doesn’t meet the criteria that is being requested. I think the combination dilutes the proposal. The Central Terminal definately has the space – and expansion could be had next at 59 Memorial (City owned property) or at the Post Office on William St.that threatens to close every couple of years.

    Amazon confirmed it is launching a “sortation” center in Lancaster at 4201 Walden Ave. Why not use the Terminal as a 2nd HQ?

    High Speed Rail seems to be a requirement but where is it in the US today? Our proximity to Toronto should be a plus. GO Transit if extending service from Toronto to Niagara Falls, On. coming more than half way.

    The Depew Station could be closed and moved to the Terminal. That and a future extension of Buffalo’s Light Rail from Downtown to the Airport would help considerably.

    The discussion of not building in cities and glut of office space may be true for the top 20 cities in the US, but not for Buffalo. We’re on the upswing and I think that would be appealing to Bezos.

    I think our political leadership should push this option.

  • OldFirstWard

    Quite an impressive list. How did the CT get nominated for the coveted spot?

    I most interested in how many buildings from past years lists have been restored, and rehabilitated due to the publicity from the nomination.