Appeals court unanimously reverses lower court demo ruling on Great Northern
April 29, 2022
The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture won a key decision by the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division for the Fourth Department today that reverses a lower court ruling that would have allowed the emergency demolition of the landmark Great Northern grain elevator. The appeals court agreed with the Campaign that the lower court the erred in refusing to permit The Campaign "to introduce certain proposed expert testimony and other evidence at the fact-finding hearing." Download Great Northern Decision
New York State Supreme Court Justice Emilio Colaiacovo in January lifted a temporary restraining order and allowing demolition to proceed. The Campaign appealed that decision, won a preliminary injunction, and argued the case before the appeals court earlier this month. The appeals court voted unanimously to reverse the lower court order, reinstated the restraining order, and remitted it back to State Supreme Court in Erie County for a hearing to include expert testimony and evidence from the Campaign.
"This is a huge victory for The Campaign, for the preservation movement, and anyone who cares about Buffalo's heritage and our waterfront," said Campaign Executive Tim Tielman. "We are confident that, once all the evidence is heard, it will be clear that the decision to demolish the Great Northern was rushed and not rational based on reasonably available facts."
The history and significance of the Great Northern, and options to save and restore it will be discussed at a public meeting The Campaign is sponsoring on Saturday April 30 at noon at the Central Library Auditorium (a flier is attached below)
The Campaign sued the City of Buffalo to block the emergency demolition in December in State Supreme Court. The elevator sustained damage to its brick cladding during a windstorm on December 11. On December 17 the city issued an emergency demolition order. The Campaign contends that the building is structurally sound, that demolition is unnecessary, and that owner ADM should be required to repair and maintain the building, which they have not done during its ownership dating to 1993. The Great Northern has been a designated Buffalo landmark since 1990. Numerous parties have offered to buy and restore the waterfront giant, but thus far ADM refuses to sell.