There is a worrying trend underway that is seeing more and more building owners opting to replace the loose and compromised bricks along building rooflines with concrete blocks. We’ve seen it happen in the Elmwood Village in the past, although the Elmwood Design guidelines have now outlawed concrete block as a primary building facade material. While that is a saving grace for the Elmwood Village, it doesn’t do much to protect other areas of the city, such as North Buffalo.
Currently, work is underway at the Romeo and Juliet’s building at the corner of Hertel and Crestwood that is seeing the upper portion of facade bricks being replaced by concrete blocks, which is very sad, in my opinion. What was once a fantastic corner building now appears to be somewhat of an eyesore. It’s too bad that this cheaper fix has come to pass.
You may recall a couple of months ago, when we wrote about 171 Elmwood Avenue. The owners of that building did a wonderful job uniformly restoring the brick along the roofline. Today, the building looks better than ever, and stands proudly along the street. It’s the exact opposite of the work that is being performed on Hertel, unfortunately.
It would be nice to a citywide code – such as the Green Code – that would address this issue. I am now learning that the Green Code does prohibit this, according to Jessie Fisher at Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN).
Green Code: “Standard, fluted, or split face concrete masonry units (CMUs) are prohibited above the basement level on front and corner side facades. Glazed or heavily polished CMUs are allowed.”
Beyond even the codes, I find it hard to believe that anyone would actually willingly do this to such an integral corner building that has stood so proud for so many years along a vibrant commercial corridor. The only thing that could make it worse would be to put a law firm billboard on top of it.