This cute little house at 35 Concord Street on the East Side is vacant and has recently been marked for demolition by the city. The city has been demolishing buildings for going on 70 years now as a senseless means of promoting growth and reducing crime. After these seven decades of sending our valuable and irreplaceable historic heritage to landfills, city leaders have still not figure out that demolition, in fact, does not reduce crime or promote growth. In fact the past ten years of rebirth in Buffalo show that the exact opposite is what promotes growth and reduces crime. The past ten years have seen unprecedented renovation investment in Buffalo’s historic building stock. Even as developers hunt throughout the most unlikely corners of the city for prospective buildings to renovate, even as businesses snap up space in historic lofts, even as expensive apartments in renovated buildings sell out as soon as they com on-line, the City of Buffalo continues to pursue demolition is its means of urban development.
What is causing the disconnect? What is wrong with leadership that they so easily skip over the obvious success of preservation to double down on demolition?
This little house has much of its original detail intact. It is charming and connects us with the origins of the city. It is the kind of building that is attracting new energy into Buffalo. With exception of its deteriorated porch, it looks solid and is likely salvageable with minimal intervention. It sits not far from the Central Terminal on a pretty tree-lined street of tidy comfortable looking houses. This street is an oportunity to build strength in this neighborhood. Tearing down this cottage is not going to build strength.
The house must be saved. That is the position from which the city should be starting if it ever wants to save and rebuild neighborhoods like this. It should not be a struggle to save a historic asset, but it is. There is hope, however. Buffalo has an engaged preservation community and they are mobilizing to save this house with the few tools available. Preservation Ready Sites notes that today Commissioner of Permits and Inspections, Comerford is holding off on any demo orders until potential recently identified potential buyers can walk through the building. Preservation Buffalo Niagara has also indicated interest in extending the Broadway-Fillmore local historic district to include this and surrounding streets. Reportedly, they plan to ask the Preservation Board to recommend a demolition moratorium in this neighborhood in the meantime.