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Freddie’s Donuts Demolition Underway | Buffalo Rising

Freddie’s Donuts Demolition Underway

The demolition of Freddie’s Donuts at 1655 Main Street in Midtown Buffalo is well underway. An application to demolish the one-story building was submitted to the City in March.

See Post

The Preservation Board signed-off on the demo in April. Now, with demolition well underway, the property will join the crowded ranks of being ”shovel ready.”

Below Photo Credits -  courtesy of: Fix Buffalo Today

 

IMG_5636 by fixbuffalo.

Freddies by fixbuffalo. 

DSCN1576 by fixbuffalo.

IMG_5634 by fixbuffalo.

See more photos of Freddie’s Demolition on Flickr – by fixbuffalo: Here

About the author  ⁄ lynnp77

27 comments
Hemedinger
Hemedinger

Sorry to see it go! I loved the Peanut Sticks and write about my Days in Buffalo 1035-1955 eara.

Lots of topics if you care to view the first writing, write to hemedingers@hotmail.com

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

Sony, we agree but I would use economic incentives, in addition to better zoning, to encourage density near train stations.

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

Drama much? This demo isn't "cutting off" anyone's arm or even a finger. It is removing an abandoned obstacle to the continued success of an existing moving and storage business. The questions of land use on North Main were answered decades ago when storage and warehouse structures were built along a stretch of mixed commercial, residential and institutional uses. Teary-eyed Buffalonians had what, 30 years to find a good use for the old Freddies? It remained vacant. The point about relocating light industrial and commercial users to the Bailey corridor is good but that would probably happen on its own if enough other interest and investment in areas like North Main occurred.

>>@PaulBuffalo: densifying zoning near train stations only works where developers find rich markets to tap. While Buffalo should zone up along transit routes, the real work is in stabilizing neighborhoods so they can attract new residents. In this area, North Main is ever so slowly shaping up...

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

You're so right and I hope the city encourages density at/near rail stations, but it could be argued that the very design of the Freddie's Doughnuts building -- a structure more basic than any current strip mall store -- was one of the forerunners to this type of sprawl on Main Street.

MJ Worthington
MJ Worthington

I hurt my finger. It's bleeding.->That's nasty. Cut it off and get rid of it!

Now my hand is bleeding and it's even more!.->Cut it off and get rid of that mess! You're blighting your body!

Great now my arm is bleeding and I can't seem to even slow it down now. -> Hurry, cut it off and get rid of it! It's not of much use anymore anyways!

And soon we wonder why we on life support...

This demo and new land use is obvisouly just a small example of what is wrong around here. Why build a light rail if you are going to allow truck depots, bus garages, stand alone chain stores, asphalt heavy warehouses etc grow and expand along it?

Of coarse the area is not dense now and all this does is futher ensure that it never gets there.

There is no shortage of vacant warehouse space in the city. American Axle and the Ryerson Steel Building off of Baily are some of the most recent. Where is the incentives to get these type of ashpahlt low density buisnesses into those types of complexs. Why is no incentive given to build up density along the rail line? We drift without overall executed plans and make piece wise decisions. The changes in the city over the last half decade show us the results.

whatever
whatever

If anybody is inspired by LuvBuff's suggestion, there's vacant space potentially usable for retail across the street and up about a half block. And unlike Freddies, it's built fully to the street and with glass windows. Here's Google street view of those:

http://tinyurl.com/empty-bldgs-across-st

There's also a vacant boarded-up building in theory with some retail potential up the street a block on the same side as Freddies was, for lease by Pyramid according to the sign on it. Also built to the street but would need windows added, as Freddies would have. Also sitting empty. Street view of that:

http://tinyurl.com/empty-bldg-same-side

There's no shortage of available vacant buildings around there. I think one difficulty stores would face is lack of populated residential blocks close by, which maybe is one factor why retail never really thrived on those blocks in recent times. But if anybody wants take a chance and try, they should.

whatever
whatever

Nate>"With the huge levels of density on this section of Main Street, we direly need a 'shovel-ready' lot."

Nate, based on what a comment on this blog explained about this, your implication is simply wrong if you're saying the building was demoed in order to create a shovel-ready lot or for green space.

Bini said the demo is to benefit the taxpaying, job-providing business next door. This comment is in the previous thread linked in the article above:

"biniszkiewicz

March 28, 2009 10:57 PM

...the demo is intended to improve truck dock access for American. So on the one hand, cleaned up corner is good, no more vacant boring building is good, more functional neighboring building is good. But at the same time, better sight lines to truck docks and parking lots isn't the best for which one might hope. I support the demo because it improves American's building and the Freddie's site has generated very little interest. Whether or not American stays in that building forever, the building itself is more functional for any user with this additional access. ..."

LuvBuffalo
LuvBuffalo

I think that there's some opportunity for small retailers in this part of Main. The numbers are not GREAT, but there are some strengths at play here.

I did some quick checking for the census tracts and zip code for the now former Freddie's Donuts site. First, I looked at the traffic counts on that part of Main Street.

>The Average Daily Traffic Count is 12,634

>Estimated purchasing power is $12,513,168

>Estimated retail sales leakage is $8,015,004

Retail Sales Leakage/Surplus

____________________________________________________________

MSA: BUFFALO--NIAGARA FALLS, NY MSA

State: New York

County: Erie County

Tracts: 003201 003202

Estimated Purchasing Power for 15 Categories of Spending

To determine the extent to which existing retail businesses are capturing retail spending of local residents, consumer expenditures are estimated for 15 categories of consumer spending. All of the expenditure categories in the ETI Purchasing Power Profiles except for food-away-from-home (which is not in the NAICS retail sector) are included in the estimates for the census tracts named above.

Estimated resident purchasing power for 15 categories: $12,513,168

Estimated Retail Sales Leakage

Some neighborhoods are underserved by retail establishments or communities where residents purchase many of their goods outside the neighborhoods. In census tracts where the estimated sales for 15 major consumer areas fall below the estimated purchasing power of residents, neighborhoods are said to have a retail sales leakage. The census tracts named above show the following estimated retail sales leakage.

Estimated retail sales leakage: $8,015,004

Estimated Retail Sales Surplus

Some neighborhoods show greater sales than estimated resident spending for the 15 categories of consumer items. These neighborhoods may have retail establishments attracting customers from outside the neighborhood (i.e., shoppers attracted to particular retail businesses, in-coming commuters, college students living in dorms, etc.) The census tracts named above show the following estimated retail sales surplus.

Estimated retail sales surplus: None

Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute, 2005. The analysis is based on 2000 Census data, the 2002 Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey; and the U.S. Census 2000 Place-of-Work Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) tabulations released in 2005.

flyguy
flyguy

Continued population loss brings demolitions like this about. You really wont see the growth and large scale preservations until you see the demand and population rise. There really needs to be a push to get large scale employers and job growth from entry level all the way up the chain of command into the Buffalo area. To "shrink to greatness", something I do not agree with, you will see many more of these types of demolitions because somethings gotta go to shrink. Again though I really dont see a big loss here, its become an eyesore for decades now.

flyguy
flyguy

Really, other than looking fondly upon the past and what joy Freddie's may have been to go to, was the building really any better than any single story sprawling commercial strip building out in the burbs that so many on here would attack due to its suburban style? I dont see the big loss here.

Nate Neuman
Nate Neuman

Thank God that this building has been razed. With the huge levels of density on this section of Main Street, we direly need a 'shove-ready' lot. How can Buffalo move forward when there is absolutely no place to build? There is just no vacant land within miles of this site. The high density and high real estate values in this neighborhood inhibit any great plan put forth. Perhaps some subsidized 'affordable' housing such as a single family vinyl-clad house with an attached garage would be great. Or a low-density (for a change on Main St) development such as a fast food chain. Or, how about, we just leave it vacant green-space? Not enough of that around.

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

This just isn't any kind of big deal unless anyone was hoping for a miraculous reincarnation of Freddies. The whole thing is just a tempest in a donut hole.

whynot
whynot

How long should a building owner have to dump good money into a bad building in an area that isn't attractive to residents or businesses? I know what ILPB is saying about the decay by neglect, but I can also empathize with the owners who are unable to find someone willing to buy the building or lease the space. We can send code enforcement at them, but I am sure that there are quite a few owners who really can't put anything more into the building. In the case of Freddies or Bethune, where the plumbing and electric are stripped and the place vandalized beyond repair, what should the owner do? At some point the owners are going to cut their loses and focus on more profitable investments.

I am sure that they could maintain the struggle of securing or mothballing the building for the decades it will take for a neighborhood to turn around, theoretically. I know a few who have tried this plan and lost the fight in one just one night when vandals and thieves broke in and destroyed their building. At some point the residents need to take responsibility for the community that they live in. I believe the owners need to be held responsible, but at some point it is one person trying to hold back a sizable criminal element who is out to destroy and pillage. How long can that one person hold on against the growing tide of apathy and crime that plagues our east side?

The Kettle
The Kettle

I will bow out after this post as I see this turning into another pi$$ing match.

-

Whatever> "Pedestrian-friendly streetscape???

Have you ever been there? The Main & Michigan block isn't at all a "pedestrian" area. From what I know about Buffalo's history, it never was. Obviously it hasn't been for the past bunch of decades. I've never seen any old pictures of that block ever having pedestrian flow. Ever."

-

Yes, in my lifetime as well. When la paris was on the now cleared, tiny scrap of now useless land at the southeast corner of Main+Michigan coupled with the once occupied now useless freddies site on the other side of the street you had a nice dense strtch of Main. Multi use buildings built right up to the broad sidewalk would be fertile ground for urban friendly redevelopment if they were kept up and preserved.

-

Whatever>"It's obvious from pictures that most of Freddie's customers came in cars. It doesn't look as though there was even any customer seating area provided inside - just customer take-out and commericial sales."

-

Very true. Not a lot of space for cars to park though. Clearly built during a more prosperous time where space was scarce. This, by todays standard, tiny parking area would be great for an outdoor cafe or garden for any potential future users of the freddies building. Unlike a modern Rite Aid which has multiple rows of frontal parking creating a dead void in the urban fabric, the modest parking in front of freddies can function like a very wide sidewalk enhancing pedestrian activity. Although this place was built primarily for cars, the small frontal parking area preserved the walkability of the streetscape

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Whatever>"Does the above look like a pedestrain-friendly area? Maybe that's why nobody even tried any other business in the Freddies building all these years, not once, obvious by the old lettering still on its walls."

-

Dont blame the building or the street for not being reused. Blame the neglectful owner(s)for letting it rot and the city for not making the landlord keep his property up. The fact that the place is decaying shouldnt give the owner a pass to tear it down. The guy should be hauled into court for owning a slum. If this was done 20 years ago the place may have multiple tennants today.

-

Whatever>"That whole strecth of Main, even when it had more businesses than now, wasn't pedestrian-focused."

-

Thats blatantly false. Just look at the few buildings that remain: Multi story, storefronts and built right up to the wide sidewalk. Even the former car dealer and old car wash are built in a pedestrian friendly manner. I hope you arnt basing that observation on the Autozone nearby. That was built more recently and is like the the now cleared freddies site, out of line with sane urban design.

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Whatever>"To not prefer the land be doing at least some economically productive use for a jobs-providing, tax-base-contributing business like the co next door, compared to it continuing to host a 25-year vacant former take-out donut shop... and demanding it be a pedestrian area when it never was one and has no realistic hope of being in the foreseeable future... is a great example of an anti-business attitude."

-

i think we are just looking at this area two differnt ways. I think it would be very pro business to continue the plan in place to guide development along the subway line to encourage pedestrian friendly business activity. If you let this storage company to thumb their nose at zoning restrictions by plowing over its neighbors the place becomes isolated island with no potential for development on all sides. By contrast if you deny them a demolition permit and order them to keep the place up to code you have potential to have both the warehouse and one or two revenue producing businesses in the freddies building. Businesses that could lead to growth nearby by encouraging people to walk down the sidewalk. Moving semis and surface lots just make a hostile environment to walk in. You see my desire to guide development to better benifit the region as "anti business". I see your way of letting one business do what they please in spite of the law as being shortsighted and counter productive to the rest of the neighborhood.

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

Before the NFTA expanded their bus garage and while the La Paris Supper Club still had activity, there were pedestrians here even though the Freddie's Doughnuts building, signage and all, was obviously designed to appeal to automobile drivers -- not pedestrians. The building's importance was tied up in its signage and it was one of Buffalo's great examples of roadside architecture. Of all the worthwhile buildings now gone, including the La Paris, Freddie's Doughnuts should not be missed. Once all of the neon signage disappeared, this very simple structure died and it has served only as a nostalgic placeholder.

It's sad that we have to speak about pedestrians as if they are an extinct species. Hopefully, this neighborhood will see positive change.

whatever
whatever

Here's Google's street view of Freddies, also showing the bus garage and storage co next door:

http://tinyurl.com/main-michigan-streetview

Does the above look like a pedestrain-friendly area? Maybe that's why nobody even tried any other business in the Freddies building all these years, not once, obvious by the old lettering still on its walls. That whole strecth of Main, even when it had more businesses than now, wasn't pedestrian-focused. Not everything is. It's not very close to residential density, it's next to a big bus garage on one side and a warehouse on the other.

To not prefer the land be doing at least some economically productive use for a jobs-providing, tax-base-contributing business like the co next door, compared to it continuing to host a 25-year vacant former take-out donut shop... and demanding it be a pedestrian area when it never was one and has no realistic hope of being in the foreseeable future... is a great example of an anti-business attitude.

Even the Preservation Board apparently couldn't invent a reason to impede or delay demolition. They're usually great at finding arbitrary convoluted reasons, but even they couldn't find a reason this time.

whatever
whatever

Pedestrian-friendly streetscape???

Have you ever been there? The Main & Michigan block isn't at all a "pedestrian" area. From what I know about Buffalo's history, it never was. Obviously it hasn't been for the past bunch of decades. I've never seen any old pictures of that block ever having pedestrian flow. Ever.

It's obvious from pictures that most of Freddie's customers came in cars. It doesn't look as though there was even any customer seating area provided inside - just customer take-out and commericial sales.

Freddies was on a commercial property next to on one side the big NFTA bus garage that's been there "forever", hardly a pedestrian-drawing site, and on the other side next to the storage/warehouse type building. Across the street I believe used to be a motel.

dblplusgood
dblplusgood

I absolutely agree with Iluvpitbulls statement: "The loss of pedestrian friendly streetscape angers me more than the the loss of the actual freddies building."

This stretch of Main Street is unwalkable and unfriendly most of the time. I don't even go near the Main and Utica metro stop anymore if I can avoid it. I have started driving to Literacy Volunteers instead of taking the metro because I keep getting harassed all along the stretch from the Main / Utica subway to Main / Riley. In the past few months I've been approached by five kids who wanted to talk to me about my ipod, at least a dozen different beggars asking for money or cigarettes, and by a guy who made some of the blatantly racist remarks about the color of my skin and why it is my duty to give him some money as some sort of slavery reparation. These things make Main Street unwalkable and unfriendly more than the old buildings. The vacant buildings like Freddies just make the area more depressing, the people make it unfriendly.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Then there is the issue of the "derelict" building. How did it get in such poor condition? Who owned the place and let it fall into disrepair? Shouldnt the city have cited the owner for lack of upkeep for his property? This type of demolition by neglect encourages people to leave buildings vacant eyesores for years and years. If the freddies building was in better shape maybe another tennant would have rented it long ago. If the city would get tough on some of these landlords many of these places wouldnt be so derelict.

I understand the moving company needs space but as a city we have to weigh what is in the best interest of Buffalo vs the interests of a moving company. If moving trucks dont fit in with plans to revive Main with pedestrian activity, then maybe we shouldnt allow them to hack a big hole in the streetscape to park semi trucks. If they dont like that, the BERC can show them many of the citys industrial-warehouse friendly sites for them to move and expand to. If they whine and cry, no hard feelings movers but maybe your place would be better suited in Tonawanda. As far as the taxbase and jobs that the moving company would take with them, think of all the jobs and taxes would be generated by a thriving walkable Main st. If we stick to our zoning laws and get tough on neglecting landlords that is what Midtown Main st could and should be.

The Kettle
The Kettle

The loss of pedestrian friendly streetscape angers me more than the the loss of the actual freddies building. That and the overlooking of zoning restrictions for Main st that are supposed to prohibit such uses as truck loading and mega car washes. I know that area may not be much to look at and many would rather see the wrecking ball have at it with the whole block but if there is a plan in place to guide development to encourage walkability to complement the light rail system we should stick to it. Instead of demolishing "blighted" structures in favor of room for autos we should be keeping Mains unique streetscape intact. Building around what is already in place is cheaper, easier on the environment and makes the area more attractive to urban friendly development. Overlooking urban building codes to allow suburban style development is counterproductive.

whatever
whatever

Ha, well if you seriously think parking is the same as loading dock access... and if you think loading dock access for the business next door that creates jobs in Buffalo and contributes to Buffalo's tax base is "counterproductive" and "forever useless" compared to a donut shop sitting empty 25 years... then we have nothing to discuss about this.

Kimon
Kimon

Sorry, but how was that derelict building potentially productive? Trucks need places to park in the city as well. At least now it's going to serve a purpose.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Oh my god dude talk about splitting hairs. Parking lot, truck drive thru same conterproductive land use for Main st.

This site has gone from potentialy productive to forever useless. Dont forget, since the metro rail went in Main is supposed to be a special zoning district and all development is supposed to enhance pedestrian activity. How the f^%k does the a$$ ends of moving trucks enhance pedestrian activity? What the f*(k good are zoning laws if the self seving administration bends over for anyone willing to build or demolish anything. This town needs to be protective of its streetscapes. Trying to turn an urban road into a suburban highway is wrong on all levels.

whatever
whatever

Yeah the vacant building for 25+ years was great for Buffalo. Another 20, 30, 40+ years of that building sitting empty until it crumbles apart would be even better.

Anyhow according to Bini's comment in the previous BR thread about this, the building isn't being demolished for parking. It's to enhance dock access for the company next door. If he's right, then any reference to a "parking lot" about this is simply ignorant.

"biniszkiewicz

March 28, 2009 10:57 PM

...the demo is intended to improve truck dock access for American. So on the one hand, cleaned up corner is good, no more vacant boring building is good, more functional neighboring building is good. But at the same time, better sight lines to truck docks and parking lots isn't the best for which one might hope. I support the demo because it improves American's building and the Freddie's site has generated very little interest. Whether or not American stays in that building forever, the building itself is more functional for any user with this additional access. ..."

Lifer
Lifer

Thanks Freddie's for all of the wonderful memories. That window was your best selling point : ).

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