City's Oldest Synagogue - DEMOLITION ALERT

The former Jefferson Street Shul (407 Jefferson Avenue - google map) is wide open and a new demolition notice (dated today) was found this morning affixed to the building.

 IMG 1932

In February 2012 I convened a series of meetings with local preservationists, architects and local historians. I met with Housing Court Judge Carney and local preservation attorney Richard Berger to help save this local landmark and special access was provided to help determine the Shul's interior and overall structural condition. Buffalo architect Ted Lownie from HHL and local preservation contractor Vince Kuntz accompanied me on at least one interior inspection. It was found to be stable. The Shul's owner - Reverend Ferrell in Phoenix AZ - wanted nothing more to do with the building and was prepared to deed his former church to a court approved qualified buyer for $1. No buyers were found.

IMG 1933

Elliot Dalfin purchased the Shul at the city's tax foreclosure auction in October 2012 for $600 (six hundred dollars). He was the only bidder. Elliot splits his time between Buffalo and Brooklyn and controls a large number of rental properties in the city's Broadway Fillmore neighborhood using various LLC's. Currently one of his LLC's owns the Shul.

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I met with Elliot several times over the past year. His plans included creating a vibrant cultural center that would honor and respect the traditions and history long associated with the Shul. Calls this afternoon were not returned.

The future of the former Jefferson Street Shul is very uncertain. Tomorrow, Buffalo's Young Preservationists have committed to assisting in re-boarding and securing the Shul - Saturday 9/20 at 11am. All are welcome.

More information as it becomes available.

For additional background information about this historic landmark please read - City's Oldest Synagogue from February 2012.

fixBuffalo interior/exterior image archive


Anthony James said...

Such a unique and fascinating building. I am not surprised by the demo notice, though, what with the falling brick. But it is certainly salvageable, but will take a lot of money to fix.

Judith anticola said...

Buffalo never learns. How very sad.

Buffalo Resurrection said...

Once again, a building that had fallen off the radar becomes a primary point of contention when a demolition permit is tacked to the door. Clearly, the Jewish community could care less about this building or its heritage as it has not been used as a synagogue since the 1950’s and neither does the Christian group that used the building for an undetermined number of years.

The surround neighborhood is gone with a few derelict properties and, if memory serves me correct, this area is ripe with in-fills which I personally do not consider a bad thing.

The parapet wall has suffered classic freeze-thaw damage and has begun to collapse, the roof has been compromised which probably was the cause of the front stairwell to collapse. All of this did not occur over-night but is the result of years of neglect.

The building is a write-off and will be demolished as it presents a serious liability to the City of Buffalo.