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Breaking News...Stop the Pending Demolition!!!

Despite the claim, that the city’s historical and architectural heritage has cultural significance and economic importance, it would appear as though city officials are turning a blind-eye to one of the last remaining examples of row-house dwellings in the city.

This boarded, derelict and vacant two story wood-framed row house complex is located directly across from Buffalo Traditional High School and a block away from Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority Member Rev. Richard Stenhouse’s African Methodist Episcopal Church. While attention is paid to Pano and structures that do not have local, state or national preservation status, this building located at 147-153 Woodlawn Avenue was designated a “local-landmark” twenty-three years ago according to Tom Marchese.

The city of Buffalo took possession of this property on July 30, 2002. It was sold at auction January 30, 2003 for $7,000. Despite numerous extensions granted and supported by Masten District Council Member Antoine Thompson, the prospective purchaser never closed the deal. The city rescinded the sale April 1, 2004. The building sits. Boarded, derelict and vacant.

I have heard people talk about the process of demolition by neglect here in Buffalo. I know there is precedent for this process. Around the corner at Michigan and Laurel there was another wood-framed row house complex. It was designated a “local-landmark” in 1981 and was “demolished by neglect” in 1999. When I inquired in 1998 why a permit was issued to “shorten the windows,” I was told by a city inspector that, “you have got to be kidding, it does not have preservation status.” He was wrong. It did. Work stopped the next day. The building was demolished a year later with out preservation board approval. Demolition by neglect? Is there precedent for a designated local landmark to be demolished by neglect? Sure, on the east side. Is there a precedent for a building owned by the city of Buffalo that has been designated a “local landmark” to be demolished by neglect? “This has never happened,” according to Tim Tielman when I asked him about 147-153 Woodlawn Avenue.

Concerned about preservation, or school kids safety? If this building was next to your child’s school would you be concerned? You might even take action. Please join me in asking Housing Court Judge Nowak to order the City of Buffalo to bring this building into compliance and facilitate the transfer of ownership to a responsible party before it’s too late.

Demolition by neglect! Only in Buffalo!

Things to do:

  • Please call Tom Marchese, members of the Preservation Board and Louis Petrucci, Chief Building Inspector. Express your concern, outrage and disgust about the pending “demolition by neglect” of 147-153 Woodlawn Avenue.
  • If you are an attorney and would like to assist me in preparing a case against the city, to bring the city to Housing Court, please contact me.
  • If you would like to participate in a press-conference on the steps of 147-153 Woodlawn in the near future, please contact me.
  • The pictures available here represent my attempt to document what is happening at 147-153 Woodlawn. I will continue to document and provide pictures on regular basis until this property is in compliance with local building, health and preservation codes.
  • If you would like a tour of the site or are interested in the other architecturally significant homes in the surrounding neighborhood, let me know.

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