Unless an appeals court intervenes, Buffalo is heading headlong into the avoidable destruction of one of its most significant buildings. It is doing it because of a rushed error in judgement by the person in charge of code enforcement who did not seek or gather advice from anyone except his staff and the intransigently negligent building owner. He came to the conclusion that one of the most stoutly constructed buildings in the city was in imminent danger of collapse, if its 60-foot high, 40-foot wide, 400-foot long top didn’t blow off first. He saw it as an emergency requiring the setting aside of public hearings, environmental reviews, and asbestos removal. He did not consider how the alleged danger could be abated without demolition.
Commissioner James Comerford of the Buffalo Department of Permits and Inspection Services did all of those things, and because of his unwillingness to admit to a mistake, the Great Northern grain elevator is, at the moment, at the mercy of the appeals court. Comerford’s boss, Mayor Byron Brown, insists his hands are tied and that he cannot pull back the emergency demolition order. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo, which sued to stop the demolition, has insisted since a section of brick cladding fell during a windstorm on December 11, that owner ADM’s 30-year record of negligence not be rewarded with a demolition permit, and that, since the Brown Administration issued the Order of Condemnation which called for the emergency demo, the Brown Administration could revoke it given new information.
The Campaign has constructed a CAD model of the Great Northern structural steel skeleton and primary steel grain bins— a new visualization based on a 125-year-old original in City Hall files. ...continue reading: Download Greater Buffalo Jan. 2022 Great Northern