Buffalo orders emergency demolition of Great Northern Elevator after storm damage

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – The owner of a historic elevator crossed the first hurdle in an attempt to destroy the structure in light brick damage suffered during last Saturday’s wind storm.

The Buffalo City Department of Inspection and Permits has granted an emergency demolition order to ADM Milling to demolish the Great Northern Elevator at 250 Ganson St. in Buffalo’s First Ward, Mayor Byron Brown announced Friday.

Brown said he reached out to ADM and asked them, even with determination, to consider the possibility of preserving all or parts of the structure.

“It was a good conversation. Brown said.

It’s still possible that demolition could be halted through court action by conservationists hoping to save the structure, built in 1897. Conservationist Tim Tielman informed the city that His campaign for Greater Buffalo is trying to get a judge to grant a temporary restraining order to stop the demolition. “There is no danger of imminent collapse. The community should have time to consider alternatives and obtain independent evaluations of the structure,” said Tielman, executive director of Campaign for Greater Buffalo.

Meanwhile, the grain mill union is also trying to convince the company to let workers buy it at a discount, save it from ruins, and use it as a union hall. “Obviously, this has a history tied to my union and we were looking for a home for ourselves for our own hall because we are currently renting,” said Anthony Barker, president of the company. Bakery, Confectioner, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union Local 36G said. “So we wanted to buy something and we felt the need to act to see if we could make this project economically viable.”

Jim Comerford, Commissioner for the Buffalo Department of Permits and Inspectors, said he did not expect demolition to be imminent because of the size of the project. He said the process can take up to six months after it starts.

“This is a public safety issue,” Comerford said. “I appreciate the uniqueness of the building. But it is 125 years old and no one knows when the next part of this wall may come down”.

“No one wants to demolish a building like this,” Comerford added. “However, if someone is injured or killed, that is our responsibility and I don’t want that. If architects or anyone else can tell me that the other sides of the wall will stay there for a long time, I want them to guarantee it in writing. And nobody can, because you can’t predict things like this. This is a 125 year old, brick building. No one could have predicted that.”

This is a breaking news story, check back for updates. Previous news in this story:

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, then returned in 2018. See more of his work. here.

https://www.wivb.com/news/local-news/buffalo/buffalo-grants-emergency-demolition-order-for-great-northern-elevator-after-storm-damage/ Buffalo orders emergency demolition of Great Northern Elevator after storm damage

Emma Bowman

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