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Project for Public Spaces: Repurposing Defunct Structures

Just this morning, I was reading about the concept up creating public markets by using the shells of defunct buildings, when suddenly I came across Buffalo’s DL&W Terminal.

The article, by Steve Davies in Project for Public Spaces (PPS), was fascinating enough, without the Buffalo reference. It showcased a handful of relatable projects that this city could glean from, not just for markets, but for repurposing buildings in general. Davies goes on to discuss all of the advantages of upcycling structures, including cost savings and typically more space offerings. Sometimes a built-structure can bring out the best in architects, when attempting to figure out ways to best use a shell.

One of the examples of repurposing a shell was a bus depot in St. Johns, New Foundland that was converted into a community market. As I was looking at the building in its raw form, I couldn’t help but think of the Delaware Park Labor Center (maintenance facility) located along the Scajaquada Expressway. 

Although it was not in the article, back in December of 2018 preservationist Tim Tielman (Campaign for Greater Buffalo) posted on the potential of repurposing Buffalo’s oldest civic building, The Broadway Arsenal/Armory/Aud. While nothing happened with that project, it would be great to revisit this vision, with other possible conversion ideas.

Campaign for Greater Buffalo proposed transitioning the original Arsenal portal by demolishing utilitarian 1940’s addition, and creating a large square on William Street – the sunny side of the building.

An example of a fruitful repurposing project that is underway in Buffalo is Uniland’s coworking space HANSA located at 505 Ellicott Street. It just goes to show that these types of reuse projects are possible, and even practical given the right circumstances.

Ultimately, the PPS article is a push for savvy marketeers to attend the upcoming How to Create Successful Public Markets training seminar, on Friday May 29 and Saturday May 30.

Lead image: Project for Public Spaces’ plans with developer Savarino Companies for repurposing the D&LW Terminal into a public market space. In the rendering, the signage on the building denotes that The BFLO Hall of Fame Experience is currently discussing with Savarino the potential of using space at the site for a proposed museum/attraction. The group was included in their successful submission to the NFTA’s RFP.

Rendering by Foit-Albert Associates Architecture, Engineering and Surveying, PC. Learn more about this project.

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, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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