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Campaign fights on three fronts for North Park Library, Bachelor Apartments, and Pratt Street Industrial Heritage Area. Public Meet-up set for Feb. 20

The close of 2015 brought with it tidings of distress to Buffalo preservationists and concerted action by members of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo through the holiday season and into the new year to stem the tide.

The Campaign instigated, researched, produced, and submitted no less than three landmark applications at once—for the North Park Library, the Bachelor Apartments, and the Pratt Street Industrial Heritage Area. It was quite a task, and cleared the first hurdle on January 28, when all three nominations were approved by the Preservation board, two of them unanimously.

North Park Library
First across the transom was Buffalo's North Park Library (closed in 2008), a pre-war Tudor Revival building designed by Howard Beck that marks the guards the western door of North Buffalo at Hertel and Delaware avenues, was sold by the City of Buffalo to Benderson Development. Benderson and the Brown Administration had been talking for years about the site, apparently, and the deal was consummated in late fall when the Common Council approved the deal. Benderson released a sketch which showed the library and its small park replaced by a typical Benderson Box of retail gimcrackery. (above, the library is set behind a generous tree lawn.)

The second late-autmnal knell was the announcement by Iskalo Development to smite the convent of St. Maragret's Church (North Buffalo, they're gunning for you). Unfortunately, pleas to the Brown Administration’s Permits and Inspections Department not to issue a demo permit while a landmark nomination process was underway cut no ice, and the building was irretrievably damaged by heavy demolition equipment on Monday, February 8. Above, the first floor hall displayed dark oak wainscoting and a magnificent and rare built-in Jewett refrigerator (r).

Bachelor (detail), 1948 BHM_edited-1
The third malevolence to darken the skies and blow chill winds down the streets was a familiar force, Carl Paladino's Ellicott Development, which announced its desire to build a Neo-Brutalist parking ramp on what it hopes will be the grave of Green & Wicks's 1886 apartment building, The Bachelor, at Tupper and Franklin streets. The ramp features more metal panels, projections, and aggressive thrusting slabs than a Dodge Ram pickup driven by an overcompensating architect. Above, a detail from a 1948 photo shows The Bachelor on SE corner of Franklin and Tupper streets in downtown Buffalo.

Bldg 20, Pratt facade
Lastly, a four-generation Buffalo metal-stamping firm, the Crosby Company, had (and still has) demolition equipment poised outside its factory on Pratt Street on Buffalo’s near-East Side, where it wants to knock down historically valuable buildings it hasn’t maintained for 30 years. Above, an all-terra-cotta tile building that would be demolished on Pratt Street. The earliest that the three applications can be heard by the Common Council’s Legislation Committee is Tuesday, February 23.

The Campaign urges all to attend a public meet-up on Saturday, February 20, at 4:00pm at Rohall’s Corner, 540 Amherst St. in Buffalo, to share ideas on how the three sites can be saved. There will be a cash bar, and food will be available.