The Campaign for Greater Buffalo has filed a City of Buffalo landmark application to protect a rare Flemish Revival style house at 184 West Utica Street in the Elmwood West National Historic District. Sinatra Development, which owns the house and an adjoining parking lot, has applied for a demolition permit for an 18-unit townhouse development that it is partnering on with Carl Paladino's Ellicott Development.
Neighbors and concerned citizens opposed to the demolition showed up in force at a January 23 Preservation Board hearing on the demo request. Tim Tielman, executive director of the Campaign, noted the stylistic rarity of the house, and its architectural quality and high level of craftsmanship. Qualitatively, it stuck out. Speaker after speaker agreed, as did the Preservation Board itself, which voted to deny a demo permit. In the Buffalo context, that means the building is still on Death Row.
That is why The Campaign sprinted to deliver a landmark application before the Preservation Board's next meeting. In the process, Tielman was pleasantly stunned to discover that the urban oddment was designed by Albert Schallmo, who later, with Oakley & Schallmo, would design the four most exquisite brick buildings ever erected in Buffalo.
At its February 6 meeting, the Preservation Board accepted the application as complete and scheduled a public hearing for February 25 at 4:00pm in room 901 City Hall.
Download Greater Buffalo #28.1.02131515 The Campaign's newsletter, a full architectural description, photos, and the story of the architect, the bricklayer, the saddler, and the artist whose lives intersected at 184 West Utica.
The Preservation Board has been ineffectual in preserving buildings in the Elmwood East and West National Historic Districts. As was pointed out in a demo hearing directly prior to that of 184 West Utica, since the creation of the historic districts, 23 buildings have been brought before the board for demolition, and 23 buildings have been demolished.
The Brown Administration routinely ignores the Preservation Board and hands out demo permits on a misguided as-of-right policy for all buildings not that are not designated City of Buffalo landmarks. It is open season on National Register properties and everyone knows it.
National and state-level designation is meaningless in terms of protecting a building from demolition. The Green Code offers better conditional protection for such properties. That is why the Campaign decided to immediately undertake an effort to designate the small brick house as a City of Buffalo landmark.
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