Spruce Street Church - Landfill or Loft?

Demolition approval for 41 and 43 Spruce Street (bing map) was on the Preservation Board's agenda yesterday. The board unanimously denied the request.
41 & 43 Spruce Street - click image to enlarge
The First German Baptist Church was built in 1869. The structure appears to be in good condition. Some bricks on the bell tower need to be re-pointed, a rear brick shed needs attention. Roof damage behind the bell tower became a hole at some point during the winter. Next door, the parsonage sits straight and appears to be in good structural condition. Here's a side view.
It's been reported that the current owner - Trinity Baptist Church located at 2930 Bailey Avenue in Buffalo, NY - has no plan for the church and adjacent parsonage as they no longer have the funds to maintain the property. In July 2008 they plead guilty to a number of Housing Court Violations involving two concurrent cases (#'s 635/2008 & 1319/2008). Part of the plea deal involves paying for a private demolition of 41 & 43 Spruce Street, the church religious structures they left behind.
Declining neighborhood churches such as the Spruce Street Church exist all over the City, especially on the East Side. While larger religious structures such as Transfiguration Church crumble and strikingly significant parts of the City's cultural and religious life such as St. Gerard's are prepped for dismemberment and shipment South - support for the Spruce Street Church, a totally scalable project, remains silent.
So, what should be done? Is it too late? Spruce Street is steps from an emerging downtown housing market. Should this church be sent off in pieces to the landfill or re-purposed and become one of the City's coolest new loft conversion projects?
Related posts:
Update - 5/3/10 - Buffalo Rising posted about the Spruce Street Church.


1962 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
1962 said...

sorry, typos.

Firstly, there is an intrinsic lack of vision on the City's part when it comes to marketing these properties. How many six-figure salaries are sitting around City Hall? Skim a couple thousand off the tops of some of the 'less effective' positions and give an outside marketing firm the job of promoting these historic legacy properties. I can attest to the fact that no one outside of a ten block radius (if that) knows these properties exist. If it's a marketing failure, so what? If the cash comes from some of the Blackberry accounts of city employees is anyone going to notice? Reallocation of funds, ok, so the 'taxpayers' don't (directly) bear the burden. Secondly there is an intrinsic lack of vision about how Buffalo is or is not going to grow - or shrink - in the future. We live in a culture which believes that it is the only generation in time. This is not the European way. In Europe and Great Britain, properties are treated as legacies for future generations. This is a much more humanistic and (gasp) progressive way of operating. In the southwest of England old mining structures are preserved as designed 'ruins' (for instance, http://www.cornish-mining.org.uk/). The British are smart about this. I've made two trips to mining country as a 'cultural tourist' and can say it's well worth the price of admission. There are hundreds of smart architects and planners who could come up with hundreds of solutions for preserving these structures. Yet how many have been invited (by the City) to tour and make those proposals? In some ways Buffalo is an architectural students dream template. Again - is it marketed that way? What is the risk? A few Blackberry accounts get cut off? As David says, 'where's the plan'?

Mary said...

The city is busy spending money bending over backwards for Bass Pro.

Realtor said...

A "For Sale" sign could result in interest from prospective buyers.

Would they be interested in signing a sales contract?

L M said...

If you don't see inside, you really can't judge the inside of the building.

A small hole in a roof will, in short time, destroy a building.

And no one that ever comments on these boards even considers asbestos. Does anyone know that if there is more than 1000 square feet of asbestos in any building, you have to PAY New York State $2000 just to TELL them that there is asbestos in the building.

Sometimes it's not just the city that hinders renovation. NYS will get her cut.

Just Let It Go said...

I think this is one time where you've really got to ask yourself, "What would The Gays do?"

Just Let It Go said...

Turn it into a bar. Put the waitresses in Catholic school girl outfits. Dress the bartenders as priests.