BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Western New York lawmakers are pushing to save a piece of local history slated for demolition.
On Sunday New York State Senator Sean Ryan and Assemblymember Jon Rivera joined representatives from Preservation Buffalo Niagara to call on the City of Buffalo to take action to prevent the demolition of the Great Northern grain elevator on Ganson Street.
“The potential loss of the Great Northern represents another unfortunate example of this region’s inability to keep intact its industrial architectural heritage that sets WNY apart from everywhere else. ADM had the opportunity to demolish the structure for decades, but instead chose to demolish by neglect. We need to be more adamant in preserving Buffalo’s unique history while reprimanding those property owners who refuse to maintain it.”
Windstorms damaged the Great Northern’s outer brick wall, leaving a hole in the side of the building. Building owner Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) applied for an emergency demolition permit citing safety concerns, which was later granted by the City of Buffalo.
Senator Ryan and Assemblymember Rivera say the city should rescind the demolition permit and allow an independent assessment of the grain elevator to be conducted immediately. Once an independent assessment is conducted, ADM could be ordered to make repairs to the building through the city’s new receivership program. If ADM will not make repairs, then the building would go to a receiver, who would then make the necessary repairs, stabilize the building, and find an interested buyer.
Built in 1897, the Great Northern is believed to be the last grain elevator of its kind in the United States. ADM purchased the building in 1993, three years after it was designated a local landmark. In 2003, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
“For years, we have witnessed the steady destruction of Buffalo's cultural history. Every time one of our historic landmarks is left to deteriorate and then demolished, we lose a small part of what makes Buffalo, Buffalo. In their haste to deal with what they perceived to be an emergency situation, city officials relied on an assessment made by an engineer hired by the company that has been waiting nearly 30 years for an opportunity to tear this building down. This situation is a prime example of why the City of Buffalo created its new receivership program – and the city should make use of it. ADM must be treated like any other Buffalonian who lets a property fall into disrepair. We love to celebrate the successes of preservation in Buffalo, but we create those successes by taking action in times like these.”