The City is on the verge of losing a historic corner building. A Notice to Vacate has been posted at 82 Sycamore Street at the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue. The Notice is necessary when an Emergency Demolition is in the works. The property owner, Sam Tedesco, is trying to beat the City to the punch- he has filed for demolition permits for 82 Sycamore and adjacent 608 Michigan Avenue.
According to the City, the demolition applications were incomplete and would require a public hearing by the Preservation Board that would consider the matter in September at the earliest. An Emergency Demolition could proceed immediately however.
Preservation Buffalo Niagara has submitted documentation to add 78, 80, and 82 Sycamore along with 608 Michigan Avenue to the Michigan Sycamore Historic District and is working with the State to add 72 Sycamore to the National Register by the end of the year which could have a positive impact on neighboring properties. Preservation Buffalo Niagara will be moving into the former boarding house at 72 Sycamore after owner Rocco Termini completes renovations.
The properties have been vacant for three decades and have fallen into disrepair. Sam Tedesco purchased them in 2006 and has been approached by would-be buyers over the years but were turned away by an “insane asking price.”
Building history from Preservation Buffalo Niagara:
82 Sycamore Street
Built c.1847 by Theodore Stover
The land at the northwest corner of Sycamore Street and Michigan Avenue was acquired by Theodore Stover through two purchases, one in September 1845 and another in February 1847, for a total cost of $500. Theodore Stover, born c. 1810, and his wife Louisa, born c. 1820, were German immigrants who settled in Buffalo in 1844, where they raised their sons Louis and Albert.
After the second land purchase, Stover built the three-story commercial/residential structure which is now known as 82 Sycamore Street. According to the 1847 City Directory, he operated a grocery store in the first-floor storefront, resided upstairs with his family, and rented out rooms and commercial space to tenants. Three years later the 1850 Census valued the real estate at $10,000; this included the structure at 82 Sycamore Street and approximately one-fifth of an acre of land. The following year Stover sold the western portion of his property, vacant land between his building at 82 Sycamore Street and Eliza Quirk’s building at 72 Sycamore Street, to Henry Nickell, a German born physician. In 1854, the Quackenboss & Kennedy Atlas described 82 Sycamore Street as a “first class brick dwelling” and “part store”.
Throughout his ownership, Stover not only operated a grocery at 82 Sycamore Street, but at one point also had a liquor store and sold coal- both of which were businesses he owned with his son Louis. Like his neighbors at 72 Sycamore Street, Stover’s tenants were primarily skilled tradesman and laborers and often foreign born. As city directories referred to the property with the generic address of “Sycamore corner Michigan,” it can be difficult to identify all the tenants he had but we know they included: Johanna Bersch, a midwife; Hermann and Edward Peckert, German born locksmiths; John Holscher, a laborer; Martin Buchegger, German born butcher; and Bernham Deutschmann, a German born instrument maker.
In 1871 Stover’s heirs sold 82 Sycamore to former tenant Martin Buchegger. He continued to operate this butcher shop and reside with his wife and nine children at 82 Sycamore Street for nearly two decades. He also continued, as the previous owner had, to rent out rooms and commercial space to tenants. During that time city directories used several different addresses, including 82 Sycamore Street, 604 Michigan Avenue, 606 Michigan Avenue, and the general “Sycamore corner Michigan,” in refereeing to Buchegger business, personal residence, and his tenants. Over the years, his many tenants included laborers, horse trainers, actors, musicians, and artificial flower makers.
The property continued to serve both commercial and residential uses through the end of the 19th and into the 20th century. There also continued to be a grocery or meat market in the first-floor storefront, just as the original owner Theodore Stover had when he built 82 Sycamore Street in 1847. By the 1920’s it was known as Baldo Brothers Meat Market, in the 1930’s ownership transferred to the Sansone family, and in the 1940’s through the 1970’s, it was “Russell’s Market” owned and operated by Josephine & Russell Cinque.
In 1980 the property was sold at tax sale by Erie County and purchased by Donald Coyle. During that time, Coyle also purchased the lots directly to the west of 82 Sycamore Street, known as 78 & 80 Sycamore Street. This is the same land that Theodore Stover sold to Henry Nickell in 1851. The frame structure Nickell originally built has been razed and it its place are two, one-story concrete and brick structures. They were likely built in the 1920’s and based on building permit applications, one or both were at one point used as an “auto sales room and public garage.” In 1995 Donald Coyle sold his Sycamore Street properties, and in 2006 they were purchased by Samuel Tedesco.