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Statler City's exterior may finally be restored

Buffalo's Preservation Board will consider the plan Thursday
Posted at 6:42 PM, Jun 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 02:30:23-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — If you've driven by the Statler in downtown Buffalo lately, you may have noticed the first floor is in need of a sprucing up.

There are finally plans to restore and redevelop the outside of Statler City. Developer and owner Mark Croce has proposed a number of repairs and renovations.

New renderings are ready to go before Buffalo's Preservation Board this week.

When Croce bought the vacant and dilapidated Statler out of bankruptcy eight years ago he worked inside, meticulously restoring the first three levels of the 19-story building.

Outside Statler City on Delaware Avenue.

But outside, the exterior has been deteriorating for years. It's in extreme need of curb appeal as an iconic Delaware avenue building in Niagara Square.

Now changes could be coming soon. New renderings by Kideney Architects show a 'comprehensive restoration' of the exterior's first two floors.

It would include removal of all the 1960's era concrete and clay tile and repairs to windows, storefront and canopy.

Outside Statler City facing Delaware Avenue.

Masonry would be fixed and this proposal calls to restore the terra cotta.

Croce declined an on-camera interview, but in December he told our I-team's Ed Drantch the exterior will be the focus this year.

Mayor Byron Brown tells 7 eyewitness news work could begin this summer.

“Some haven't been happy with the pace of progress - but now – very happily - a $3 million exterior renovation is close to moving forward. I'm hopeful the preservation board will approve the plan and the work will start this summer,” replied Mayor Brown.

Buffalo Mayor Brown Brown looking at the history of the Statler.

The city worked to help secure more than $5-million in state grants for Croce with to conduct the outside work. But the funding deal is tied to Croce's own investment. Some of the grants were already used to stabilize the roof and masonry.

Brown noted if Croce hadn’t stepped forward in 2011, city taxpayers could have ended up footing over a $15 million demolition bill.

“I absolutely did not want to see that and fought hard to make sure this historic structure was preserved in our downtown,” Brown said. “He definitely kept his word. He has been very focused, very deliberate in moving investments forward – keeping the building going.”

The goal now is to restore the Statler’s exterior to its 1920's appearance. City senior planner Chris Hawley tells us the Preservation Board follows a "set of standards" when approving restoration plans.

The board will consider Croce's plans this Thursday. They're expected to ask what type of materials will be used to replace the terra cotta.