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Wrecking Buffalo: Court Allows Great Northern Demo to Proceed

State Supreme Court Justice Emilio Colaiacovo upheld the decision-making authority of Permits & Inspections Commissioner James Comerford when he issued an emergency demolition of the Great Northern grain elevator on Ganson Street.  The structure suffered a partial façade collapse during a December 11 windstorm.

Owner Archer Daniels Midland has been trying to demolish the structure since they purchased it in 1993. Years of neglect, and blind indifference by the City, caught up with the structure during the storm. Comerford issued an emergency demolition order and The Campaign for Greater Buffalo went to court to block it.

Shockingly, during the court hearings, Comerford admitted that he and no one on his staff is a licensed engineer, and that he relied only on reports by ADM engineers. Documentation to the contrary by outside engineers, and interest in redeveloping the site by Douglas Jemal and others, were irrelevant to the court decision.

From the Judge as reported by The Buffalo News:

“It is regrettable that the court is required to make this determination,” the judge wrote. “As noted during oral argument, the Great Northern Elevator is part of our city’s landscape. However, the present condition of the building as well as the damage sustained during the December windstorm renders this decision rather straightforward.

The Judge threw some shade at the Brown Administration and ADM as well:

“Had this building not been allowed to deteriorate after years of, at best, inaction, and at worst, neglect, perhaps this structure could have been saved,” Colaiacovo said. “Yet, the court can only consider the record as it presently exists. That record includes the fact that more than half of the northern wall has collapsed, the building is over 123 years old and in a general state of disrepair that renders it unsafe.”

The Campaign for Great Buffalo has announced it plans to appeal the ruling.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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