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Voelker's demolition plans hit a roadblock as Preservation Board recommends it be named a landmark

Voelker's Bowling
Posted at 8:30 AM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 08:30:34-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The plans to demolish the iconic Voelker's Bowling Center and three other buildings in the area of Elmwood Avenue and Amherst Street in Buffalo have hit an apparent roadblock.

During Thursday night's meeting, the Buffalo Preservation Board unanimously denied owner Krista Voelker's request to demolish the buildings.

The Board's move to deny the requests came in response to several community members submitting petitions to protect the bowling alley, along with the fact that Voelker did not submit any plans for what the land would be used for post-demolition. Voelker said in her proposal that the pandemic losses were the "final straw" in the decision to demolish the building.

Instead, the Board decided to recommend the buildings be granted landmark status, citing the Bowling Center's ties to the Pan-American Exposition, specifically.

According to the Board, the building was originally built as the Hotel Elmwood in 1900, then was bought by the Voelker family in 1901. It would serve as a hotel during the Pan-Am Expo 10 years later.

Board members unanimously voted to send the landmark status recommendation to a committee to be discussed later.

The Preservation Board will meet again on April 29.