Pano Giorgiadis, owner of Pano's Restaurant and the Edward Atwater House next door, vehemently rejected an offer by The Campaign for Greater Buffalo to make free repairs on the house to forestall deterioration and bring it into compliance with the building code. Giorgiadis applied for a demolition permit in early September, in order to expand his restaurant operations. The repairs, consisting of replacing windows on the Elmwood (windward) side of the building that were neatly cleared of glass shortly after Giorgiadis evicted all tenants from the at the end of August, are necessary to protect the house from water damage.
Neighbors, citizen groups, and preservationists are concerned that the house has been open to the elements for 10 weeks, during which heavy wind-driven rains have fallen. Freezing temperatures will also be a problem. Giorgiadis has neglected to fix the windows on his own, despite urgings from neighbors, the city’s Preservation Board (at a mid-October hearing) and a group of preservationists, neighborhood groups, architects and planners called together by Mayor Anthony Masiello on Nov. 1 to meet with Giorgiadis to discuss means of helping him save the building.
No repairs being made in the ensuing two weeks, Tim Tielman, executive director of The Campaign sent Giorgiadis a letter on Friday, Nov. 12, offering to replace the windows free of charge. (the full text appears below) Giorgiadis, in a phone message to Tielman, executive director of The Campaign, on Nov. 14, angrily said “The windows [are] not going up only because you piss me off. OK? Don‘t tell me what to do.”
While the Masiello Administration has delayed making a decision on Giorgiadis’s demolition application pending discussions aimed at offering Giorgiadis alternatives to demolition, it is now time to enforce the building code and direct Giorgiadis to protect his building from the elements and to eliminate the risk that the broken windows pose as invitations to vandalism. Further delay would unnecessarily harm the public interest.
Further, The Campaign urges the Mayor to deny Giorgiadis his demolition permit based on the public interest and the Preservation Board’s recommendation of Oct. 14 to deny the permit. That is all the reason the Mayor needs under the City Code.
The text of Tim Tielman’s letter to Pano Giorgiadis, copied to Mayor Masiello, Commissioner of Permits and Inspections Raymond McGurn, and Councilmember Joe Golombek:
Dear Mr. Giorgiadis,
At the Monday, Nov. 1 meeting in the Mayor’s conference room, I brought up the need, for appearances’ sake, as well as building code reasons, that the missing window panes on the front of 1089 Elmwood, the Atwater house, be replaced with new glass as soon as possible..
I can imagine that you might feel doing so, if you want to demolish the building, is a waste of money.
Therefore, we are offering to replace the broken windows free of charge.
We have retained the services of John Gulick to do the work. He has wide experience in window repair and restoration. I propose Mr. Gulick prepare a bill for his services to us at his normal trade rate. It would be payable only if the building is not demolished (since the windows would have to be repaired in any case if the building were to continue to stand, and doing the work now precludes any water and ice damage). Again, if the building is demolished, there is no charge to you.
We make this offer because we are sincere in our desire to save the house and want to remove all impediments to fixing the windows.
We will repair the windows immediately upon your agreement .