October 28, 2014

Keep right-of-way for the public at City Ship Canal !

Common Council meeting today, Tuesday 2:00pm City Hall.

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is urging city officials to save the only public access on the east shore of the City Ship Canal and not give control to a business that would cut off access...

 

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo strongly supports retaining all of the public-right-of-way of South Michigan Avenue to The City Ship Canal, and to avoid permanent or temporary leases which would in any way impede the unfettered public access that has been in effect there since the waterway was created in the 1850’s. Make no mistake: this is a taking of public lands and public access at a time when the public is clamoring for more.
 
We urge, instead, enhanced public access and the restoration of the  lift bridge that was removed in 1964. The City Ship Canal landing should be designed to encourage public enjoyment,  with historical interpretation, relaxation, and cultural tourism  enhancements.
 
General Mills, having failed to gain direct ownership of South Michigan Avenue and the City Ship Canal landing, now wants to be given a “revocable” lease, in perpetuity, on this valuable section of public land for a nominal sum.  To grant the request would be a grievous mistake. It would be rued every time a person would be blocked from enjoying a beautiful and historic part of Buffalo’s living waterfront.
 
Lately, it has suggested that it is a matter of homeland security. That is a stretch (How does this property differ from any other in the United States in terms of food and water security? Every one of the tens of millions of farms, food handling points, and water supply points would be a matter of “homeland security”).
 
The Campaign for Greater Buffalo and its Open-Air Autobus tours would be directly effected by the proposed abandonment, as its most popular tour for visitors and residents alike is the tour that stops at the City Ship Canal and South Michigan Avenue for an extended discussion of General Mills’s elevators (built as part of the Washburn-Crosby complex) and the Great Northern Elevator, also to be seen from there. The eminent architectural historian Reyner Banham, as quoted in my book, Buffalo’s Waterfront, said that it could be argued, with little exaggeration, “that Elevators A, B, and C of the Washburn-Crosby complex [currently General Mills] constitute the most internationally influential structures in North America.”
 
Further, abandoning South Michigan Avenue would forfeit rebuilding the lift bridge that was once there. The Buffalo waterfront has changed dramatically since its low ebb in the early 1960’s. It would be a grave mistake that would be rued and recalled by all citizens forever if this most logical public path between the Outer and Inner harbors were to be foreclosed. There is potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in development at stake, as well as enhanced access to hundreds acres of public recreational lands on the Outer Harbor.
 
The Campaign urges you to reject any attempts to privatize this vital and strategic right-of-way, temporarily or permanently and to actively explore the lightest, quickest, cheapest, and best crossing of the City Ship Canal: A new South Michigan Avenue lift bridge.

 

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

October 09, 2014

Breaking ground ceremony of the Richardson Center Corporation Core Project

The "groundbreaking" ceremony for a hotel at the Richardson Olmsted Complex will take place on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. The Campaign's board and staff were instrumental in saving the former asylum, filing a lawsuit which led directly to $100,000,000 in state funding for preservation projects, including $75,000,000 for the Richardson, which had been deteriorating unchecked for decades ($25,000,000 went to the Martin House).

An 88-room hotel and 300-seat event center are planned. Hotel rooms will be in the two pavilions flanking the Administration Building, which will house hotel reception and an "architecture center."

Construction on the $69 million project will also include landscaping and roadways. Controversially, the main hotel entry will be automobile-centric, and approached from the rear, or north, side of Richardson's iconic Administration Building. Northside landscaping is to be rectilinear, taking its cue from parking lots serving the hotel (the Campaign fought against this anti-Olmstedian plan, to no avail) 

Landscaping and circulation issues notwithstanding, the occupancy of part of the Richardson Complex marks a victory in the 30-year struggle to re-occupy the National Historic Landmark.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

September 25, 2014

Inc. papers

Posted on September 25, 2014 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

September 16, 2014

This Old Mansion: lifestyles of the rich and infamous!

This old mansion without dates.

Sunday, Sept 7 & Saturday Sept 20. Departing at 10:00am from the Hotel Lafayette @ 391 Washington St.@ Lafayette Square.

The lifestyles of the rich and infamous unfold on this fascinating tour of the mansions of Buffalo's titans. Learn of their feats and foibles and evolving taste in conspicuous architectural consumption. Massive Italianate, Second Empire, Victorian Gothic, Queen Anne, and Shingle-Style houses were a kind of urban Downton Abbey. All was not decourous, however: Mabel Dodge Luhan, who, after trailblazing and swath-cutting life on two continents, wrote a famous memoir that dished the dirt on her youthful Buffalo neighbors. 

90 minute tour for $25! Call 716-854-3749 to reserve a seat or pay by Paypal below. *Please be sure to indicate tour and tour and tour date when purchasing.

Reservations
 

Posted on September 16, 2014 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

Industrial Strength Architecture: Adventure on the Belt Line

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10:00 am Sunday Sept 21. Departs at Hotel Lafayette, 391 Washingotn St. @ Lafayette Square. 90 minutes for $25

Buffalo's Hide-in-Plain-Sight secret: The Central Belt Line of the 1880'a, the city's most consequential transportation project since the Erie Canal. See huge industrial plants like Pierce-Arrow, Ford Motor, Larkin Soap, and, of course, the titanic NY Central Terminal itself-powerful and innovative architecture that effects how we live today.

 

Reservations

Posted on September 16, 2014 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

July 01, 2014

Larkin, Hydraulics and Valley Tour in August and September!

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Experience this great Open-Air Autobus tour with C4GB member and urban planner Chris Hawley on Larkinviile's Market Day!

Tour dates are are Thursdays, Aug. 7 through Sept 18.

We depart at Larkin Square, Seneca & Emslie at 5:30pm for the approx. 1 hr. tour.

Tours cost $10 for all ages and are sponsored by Larkin Development. Cash or credit card accepted upon boarding.

You may also reserve seats by calling (716)854-3749 or via Paypal button below.

Reservations

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 01:49 PM | Permalink

June 03, 2014

City of Tomorrow Event at Silo City

Head out to Silo City for this amazing event. Thursday, June 5 from 6-10pm!

City of Tomorrow-2

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 01:11 PM | Permalink

May 01, 2014

Campaign Stops Demo Work at Larkin Powerhouse, Owners Confirm Bids Sought for Demo; Campaign seeks "Larkin Historic District;" Public Hearing May 15

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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo has successfully stopped demolition work on the Larkin powerhouse at 645 Seneca Street and submitted an application for local landmark status for the entire Larkin District. The Buffalo Preservation Board adopted the application and voted unanimously to recommend that the Larkin Historic District be created. A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday May 15 at 3:00pm in room 901 of City Hall.

Campaign Executive Director Tim Tielman called City of Buffalo Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services James Comerford on Wednesday afternoon, May 23, to report that, two different people, on two separate occasions, had said to inquiring passersby that “14,000” bricks were being salvaged on behalf of the building’s owners prior to the demolition of the building “in a month.” One man was quoted as saying the building would be imploded. Tielman photographed palletized bricks and a large section of wall from which two myths (layers) of brick had been removed in haphazard fashion—a typical salvage job one sees on demolition sites. No demolition permits had been issued.

The Campaign posted its findings on its website, The Greater Buffalo Blog, and sent out a news release later on Wednesday. The news was posted on various websites and resulted in an article by reporter Mark Sommer in the next morning’s Buffalo News.

 On Thursday April 24, City of Buffalo building inspector Kevin Coyne posted a stop-work order on the building.

 In the meantime, Tielman and colleague Eric Pochylski were working quicky to deliver an application for landmark designation to the Preservation Board at its meeting Thursday afternoon.

 On Friday, Sommer had published a follow-up story in the News, in which principal Peter Krog dissembled on the issue. Tielman connected by phone with Krog in the early afternoon. Krog admitted that he had spoken about demolishing the building and claimed it was in bad condition. Indeed, said Krog, he had had Commissioner Comerford over to the site previously, and showed him the conditions in what Krog called the “crawlspace.” Krog reported that Comerford was so impressed that he offered to issue a demolition permit. Krog further stated that he had “had the asbestos removed.” No survey has been done or permit issued for that work, as far as can be determined.

 

On Tuesday, April 29, Tielman met with Comerford. When told of Krog’s comments, Comerford reacted angrily and denied to have ever visited the site and said Krog could not be “trusted anymore.” Further, an architectural firm retained by Krog filed for a permit to remove more brick from the building, and Krog partner Jim Cornell let it be known that demolition bids had been solicited. 

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 05:23 PM | Permalink

April 23, 2014

Illegal demolition activity at Larkin Powerhouse; Contractors say plan is to "implode" building within month. Campaign moves to stop work, designate entire area "Larkin Historic District

Members of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture have witnessed and documented illegal demolition activity at a significant Buffalo landmark: the R.J. Reidpath-designed powerhouse. A section of brick wall is being removed by contractors working on behalf of the building's owner, developer Peter Krog. Contractors said the building would be demolished "in a month." Piles of bricks and a wrapped pallet of bricks were photographed by The Campaign. A query at the Department of Inspections revealed no permit for the demolition work, nor applications filed for the building as a whole. The Buffalo Preservation Board, which must review all demolition applications, has also not received any notice of such an application.

Campaign Executive Director Tim Tielman expects to give the City of Buffalo Preservation Board a nomination form to designate the powerhouse and all the Larkin Company buildings as a local historic district. Once accepted, the Board could vote as early as tomorrow (April 24) to schedule a public hearing.

"It is unfortunate and outrageous that a building owner seeking to exploit the historic cachet of the Larkin Company (Krog and partners also own the adjacent 701 Seneca Street, which they call the "Larkin Center of Commerce") would destroy part of the nation's legacy for a parking lot," Tielman said. A Larkin Historic District would give long overdue formal recognition and protection to one of America's most importa"nt industrial complexes. It would also offer the maximum protection for the endangered powerhouse."

Krog's company is enjoying the fruits of other public and private investments in "Larkinville." M&T Bank recently leased a large block of space, and Krog has been building and repaving parking lots in the area.

"There is always a creative solution to parking issues that is short of demolition, and if Krog can't develop the building, I am sure there are other developers out there who would be happy to do so," says Tielman. We are determined to fight very hard to save the powerhouse, and I am sure the public will agree we cannot lose this building."

Frank Lloyd Wright's Larkin Administration Building, across the street from the powerhouse, was demolished in 1950. Krog currently owns the site and operates it as a parking lot.

Buffalo Department of Permits and Inspection Services Commissioner James Comerford, reached by The Campaign on Wednesday afternoon, vowed to send an inspector to the site as soon as possible. 

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 04:37 PM | Permalink

April 04, 2014

FRUIT BELT PRESERVING

Inc. papers 1

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 02:47 PM | Permalink