People often ask me, "So, you really think this building can be saved?" Two words roll off my tongue. Granite Works. It's my mantra.
Transfiguration would have been one hundred years old this year and was a featured stop of the recent Tour dé Neglect. I've stopped thinking about trying to save Transfiguration. Now, it's a protracted battle over who is going to front the demolition cost. Tax payers or local attorney? And get this, the guy's mother has an outstanding Housing Court warrant, four years old. He named her president of the corporation. Wonder if she knows? Since starting in Housing Court, Judge Nowak has not seen the file in his court room. Really beginning to wonder why?
It's a lost cause and sad reminder of the deep structural issues facing a weak market city with a declining population. Mix in some Diocesan malfaesance, a Council President living close by who supports Casino development while simultaneously abandoning the unique urban character of his Broadway Fillmore district's heritage buildings - remember the Wollenberg, burned down just six weeks ago - and a floor full of lawyers at City Hall working with an Inspections Dept. that can not seem to locate the responsible party (local attorney, living a few blocks away from City Hall) well, you get this, a photograph taken Sunday afternoon.
Sean (check out his site, wow!) from Toronto's most progressive urban exploration and visual documentary heritage group - DK PhotoGroup - was in town with a few photographer friends over the weekend and went inside.
Here's the flickr slide show: Inside Transfiguration.
The Transfiguration Church, three miles from Elmwood, was first written for Housing Court on March 13, 1997. In the last 8 years Transfiguration has journeyed through Housing Court 61 times and the file, case #869/97 has seen four seperate Housing Court judges. Judge Broderick passed the file to Judge Devlin who tossed it to Common Council President David Franczyk's brother and finally Judge Fiorella issued a warrant for Pauline Nowak [no relation to Judge Nowak] on September 25, 2002. She's an officer of Paul Francis Associates, Inc., the party that bought the crumbling church from Bishop Mansell in October, 1995.
Here's that post from December 2005 - Sign of Things to Come - contains pertinent background information regarding the Dept. of Inspections attempts to nab the perp. You won't want to miss this lovely e-mail exchange between said local attorney, William Trezevant and moi.
Really zen about losing this one. It's the 400-500K demolition bill that Buffalo residents will have to fork over when the place is written up for an emergency demolition at some point that I'm pissed about. Bill, what say you? I'll be here, every Saturday morning. Just love your campaign slogan when you ran for Ellicott District Councilman a few years ago.
For additional background on Transfiguration see the following posts:
Artspace Archive • Annals of Neglect • BAVPA • Where is Perrysburg? • Broken Promises...
Writing the City • Woodlawn Row Houses • Tour dé Neglect - 2006 • faq • my flickr
buffalo olmsted parks conservancy