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Lawmaker wants investigation into owner of collapsed building

Emergency demolition continues at 435 Ellicott Street, Buffalo
Posted at 6:09 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 18:10:23-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The 400-block of Ellicott Street in downtown Buffalo was once again blocked so crews could continue demolition of a building that collapsed on Wednesday December 4, 2019.

The Buffalo Fire Department said a portion of Ellicott Street will, most likely, be partially blocked on Friday December 6th as demolition crews have more to do.

"These are heavy structures. When they fall, lives are in danger," said Ellicott District Councilmember and Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen.

This past August, the structure at 435 Ellicott Street partially collapsed and Pridgen wants to know why the owners did nothing to make repairs?

"I lay the entire blame of this building shifting and falling on the owner of the building," said Pridgen.

The property is owned by Buffalo Properties LTD located downstate in Nyack, New York.

In addition to the 435 Ellicott building, Buffalo Properties LTD owns five other large structures in poor condition along Oak, Ellicott and Genesee Streets:

324 North Oak Street
328 North Oak Street
334 North Oak Street
435 Ellicott Street (collapsed and is being demolished)
441 Ellicott Street
130 Genesee Street

"Broken windows, sharp glass, blight on the community, and exposed electrical wires," read Pridgen from a Buffalo Department of Permits & Inspection report detailing problems at 130 Genesee Street.

Zina Lapi owns the Casa Azul Mexican restaurant and bar located next to 130 Genesee Street. She tells reporter Ed Reilly that the eyesore is driving away business because cars coming into the city on Oak Street can only see the dilapidated buildings. Lapi said she has called the city multiple times because of broken glass and squatters getting inside the vacant building.

Prigen's office is now drafting a resolution that would demand the owners of Buffalo Properties LTD appear before the Buffalo Common Council to answer why their properties are in such poor condition. "I don't want to see another building collapse in this city, like the one we had, when we have the violations right in front of us," said Pridgen.

As to remedies, Pridgen said the Common Council could exercise it legal muscle and possibly seize the properties.