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