Council members weigh in on Trico future

March 19, 2012 Updated Mar 19, 2012 at 9:25 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

March 19, 2012 Updated Mar 19, 2012 at 9:25 AM EDT

Add a pair of influential Buffalo Common Council members who are joining the growing chorus to save the former Trico No. 1 plant that the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus wants to demolish as part of its ongoing expansion plans.

Councilmen David Franczyk and Joseph Golombek have filed a resolution with their fellow city lawmakers asking that they urge, if not prevent, the medical campus from demolishing the century-old, Goodell Street landmark.

"Demolition should be the last resort," Franczyk said.

The council is expected to review and vote on the resolution on March 20, two days before the Buffalo Preservation Board considers naming the six-story, 600,000-square-foot mothballed windshield wiper factory a historic landmark. Preservation Buffalo Niagara is also holding a public meeting on the landmark status on March 22 and the Common Council's legislation committee may vote on that request on March 27.

All of the efforts are designed to preserve the building, which members of the architecture and historic preservation community say must be saved. Others contend, however, that the land where it sits is more valuable the long-vacant building.

The various designations are designed to make demolition almost impossible to be approved. The medical campus paid $12.4 million for the building five years ago.

The plant's fate has been the subject of numerous talks since it became public last week that the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, who bought the six-story building five years ago, wanted to begin razing the facility in April to make way for new developments.

Local preservationists, led by Preservation Buffalo Niagara, have started a full-scale effort to stop the proposed demolition.

Preservation Buffalo Niagara is working to secure funding for a re-use study for the building that would pinpoint historic tax credits and other incentives that may make the former factory a viable restoration project. The group hopes the medical campus will delay any action until the study can funded and completed.