The Bulldozer's New Map

One of the most targeted and comprehensive demolition blitzes was unveiled by City Hall over the weekend.  57 buildings, mostly East Side City-owned residences are now scheduled for the landfill.  Here's the map.

View $1,008,000.00 = 57 Demolitions in a larger map
With demolition costs hovering around $18, 000/house a number of housing advocates have expressed concern and dismay over this allocation of federal funds.  One long time observer sent me the following yesterday.  "These funds could be re-allocated and used to establish a renovation or revolving loan fund for interested individuals. How many homes did the City renovate last year? How many were demolished?  Instead, politically connected demolition contractors continue to do what they do best.  Sad."  
Last November the City's Division of Real Estate asked the Preservation Board for their approval to demolish 24 City-owned houses.  A number of these have since been identified as rehab candidates.  To my knowledge community advocates haven't had an opportunity or taken a second-look at this new million dollar list. 
The Buffalo News broke the news over the weekend and carried .pdf links to the targeted properties.  Broadway Fillmore Alive posted about the City's latest demolition plan in Demolishing Polonia and Preservation Ready Sites a new Buffalo based facebook group is collecting part of the commentary.

Update: February 6th - The two West Side properties that have been contracted for demolition - 298 15th Street and 373 14th Street (images after those links)  -  appear to be in good condition and are located a few short blocks away from two of the Cities most progressive examples of neighborhood reinvestment:  The Extreme Makeover House and PUSH Buffalo's projects.   Both blocks are experiencing a high level of private investment.  


Barry said...

Pictures and rehabilitation costs of these properties would help discern the necessity of demolition. I can't imagine how a $1 Million contract can be let without this simple analysis by the City.

Anonymous said...

Except that renovation typically costs $225,000 apiece when federal funds are attached. The map is revealing (great map, by the way!) because the neighborhoods where demolition is being focused are generally NOT market-healthy. Renovation would be sending federal dollars down the sink hole. The City appears to be making the right decision.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about it costing $225,000 a piece for renovating those houses. - to my way of thinking - it would not be worth it. Most of those houses are falling apart - and their value, even before the decay set it, was never 1/4 million dollars.
you're talking about houses that are so rotted out the only recourse is to knock them down. That concentration of scheduled demos has some pretty terrible houses. I would have to agree that the city is doing the right thing by demolishing them.

Resurrect Buffalo said...

Demolition is a controversial subject in Buffalo simply because everyone seems to have an option on the topic.

The east side of Buffalo is an extreme example of an over-abundance of residential and commercial buildings but does it really take an advanced degree in architectural history to determine which buildings to stabilize for future renovation and which to demolish?

No, of course not, anyone with a background in design or construction should be able to determine this criteria especially if the building has been an anchor of the neighborhood such as a former church or unique commercial building.

Residential is more difficult as many mistake Buffalo’s monolithic monstrosities as unique because of their dimensions but many of these, depicted in photos on this website, are clearly beyond renovation and, some look as if they are abandoned farmhouses because every other home has long since been demolished. Why are these neighborhoods not being targeted for Land-Banking?

Land-Banking can begin on dead end streets tying all of the infra-structure back to the nearest intersection but, again, a lack of understanding prevents this from happening.

Pulling back the neighborhoods back to the core of the city needs to happen on a 20-30-year plan but who has the foresight to implement such a program?

Certainly not the current administration