SweetPea Market: Bittersweet

Buffalo's next über cool infill development, slated for a key corner in the Fruit Belt, was approved by the City Planning Board on Tuesday. SweetPea Market may soon be under construction at High and Maple streets, steps from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Check out the following site plans filed with the City Planning Board.


The project is being undertaken by the St. John Fruit Belt Community Development Corp., and is designed by eco_logic STUDIO. The renderings, which reveal a green roof, solar panel array, and spacious patio, would likely rival any grocery in Seattle or Austin. If built, the project could raise the bar on East Side infill projects, which rarely add value to surrounding neighborhoods. But there's a downside. 

204 High Street
photo courtesy of Joe Cascio

The project includes demolition of the historic 204 High St., built in 1871, which I have written about here, here, here, and here. Buffalo Spree and WBFO have covered an ongoing preservation conversation about the house. A hearing before the Preservation Board has not yet been scheduled, but it surely will be.

The proposed demolition is callous and unnecessary. The Fruit Belt lost 85% of its population from 1950 to 2010, according to the U.S. Census, and probably as much of its historic building stock. A good project can incorporate both the past and future of the Fruit Belt. This is feasible. A project by Help USA slated for Broadway and Hickory streets, only a few blocks away, will incorporate the facade of 362 Broadway (google map).

Stay tuned. Readers of fixBuffalo will be among the first to know when they can address the Preservation Board about the future of 204 High Street.


Anonymous said...

Great idea, too bad this cool old building is in the way, any reason why the proposed "uber" market could not be moved across the street to the next existing vacant lot directly to the East of the proposed location?

Anonymous said...

It's worth noting that HELP USA originally planned to demolish 362 Broadway.

The Preservation Board, which had no binding authority over 362 Broadway (like 204 High, it is not a City landmark), asked HELP USA if they could incorporate as much of the facade as possible into the new project. Without a fuss, HELP USA agreed to take a look at it, and that's what they're going to do.

That's what it means to be a good neighbor.

Veronica Hemphill-Nichols said...

In 2007 I partnered with Buffalo Place to purchase 204 High St., a historic building located on the corner of High and Maple. The city of Buffalo in collaboration with the Medical Campus and St. John Baptist Community Development Corporation blocked our efforts to restore the building. Several sound structures have already met the same fate. Unfortunately for the residents of the Fruit Belt, the land is more valuable with nothing on it.
When the city changed the name of the Historic Fruit Belt to Medical Campus twenty plus years ago, they had in mind to wipe it out!!!

Anonymous said...

A most-excellent argument for this building would be that it served as a medical establishment long before this area was even designated a medical corridor.

Incorporate the building into the design or, as already stated on this blog, relocated either next door or across the street.