Artists + Opportunity = Hope for Buffalo

I had the unexpected opportunity to tour the property located at 669 Genesee Street recently. I am not a structural engineer, general contractor yet after 15 years of real estate experience here in the city of Buffalo I realize that this could be an extraordinary urban opportunity. This is a city owned property and occupies half a city block. The primary building has three floors (50x100) and the two additional buildings on the property are smaller. In addition, city records show that there are two additional vacant parcels adjacent to the main building. Here's the official property description from City Hall.
*** New ***
The main and secondary building appear to be in good structural condition. The mechanics have been stripped. In addition to the property, the new owner would get 24 rolls of blue vinyl 8' by 500 each (think Christo!!!), a bunch of too cool deco chairs, 2 chopped-up suvs and 4-5000 library books!
Exterior photos:

click to enlarge
Interior photos:

click to enlarge

*** New ***
Craig, from Buffalog, just passed along additional pictures of 669 Genesee Street.
Most of those are 669 pics, some not.
Craig also shared this aerial view he grabbed.

click to enlarge
Here's a cool satellite view, too!

Make sure to check out Craig's account of our recent tour!
My experience suggests that this building could be purchased from the city for less than the price of a tall house coffee on Elmwood Avenue. The building presents some immediate liability issues and so you would need the advice and guidance of a competent real estate attorney who is familiar with the acquistion of city property. To complete the deal you'd probably want to present your plan to Housing Court Judge Nowak, too. You would be a Housing Court Hero!

It's the perfect opportunity for the right person or group. You'll have to move quickly. The city has ear-marked this property for demolition. According to my best information the bulldozers are around the corner. The estimated demolition cost is pegged at 250K +

The view from the roof is spectacular...counting the steeples was like counting stars on a summer nite...I got lost. Think of the possibilities for summer time parties and entertaining in this totally unique urban SpOT! Think of the ultimate urban living experience...

Feed back from e-mail:
  • A drug dealer made the top floor their pad about 10-15 years ago if i remember correctly. Genesee Street has any number of great buildings that will go the way of the bulldozer. If these buildings were secured, cleaned up, and MARKETED the city could begin to make a small dent in the problem. Problem is, the dreamers are never the ones with the money to do these projects.
  • Like, what would it take for the city to re-direct some of the funding for the demolition and properly secure, board and moth-ball the building for future use. Is this to innovative and creative for our elected official to understand...Am I expecting too much?
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faq


Anonymous said...

At the hightest level of City government there is lip-service paid to 1) preservation, 2) the artistic community, 3) repopulating downtown (this building isn't exactly in downtown, but it's close).

Despite all that no one with power can manage to fight their way out of the wet paper bag of demolishing things for more money that it would cost to mothball them.

Shame on us all for our lack of outrage.

Craig said...

This building could truly be something special. The views and light from the huge windows were stunning. Really an awesome place.

About 70 more photos here:

W. Morgan Smith said...

I would like to exchange e-mails with anyone interested in
being part of a creative solution to save this building.

I'm thinking some kind of limited partnership or cooperative form of
ownership with partners/members contributing money and/or talent of one
form (legal, technical, financial planning) or another. The goal of
this entity could be as modest as acquiring and mothballing the
building or as bold as restoring it and finding new uses for it.

We have made great strides in getting the word out about buildings and,
in some cases, saving them, but we need to develop another approach
where property is actually acquired and stabilized.

You can reach me at wms @plumworks.com (remove space for operable address)