You ever see those movies that take place in a post-apocalyptic world? The buildings are vacant shells with broken windows, surrounded by dead trees and overgrown lawns. It’s always creepy. That’s Kensington Tower complex in the East Side of Buffalo. It looks like a scene straight out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. But thanks to the hard work of HLM Holding and Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, the wasteland will be converted into Heritage Heights retirement community after a year-long demolition process and a two-year build.
The site has been vacant since 1979, and you can tell. Asbestos signs adorn most of the walls, deterring even the most dedicated explorers from venturing inside the buildings which, even without asbestos, are probably home to rats, the threat of tetanus and other problems.
Hormoz Mansouri, President of HLM Holdings, who will be developing Heritage Heights, was very pleased with the initial clean up of the exterior. Mansouri has had his eye on it for upwards of 14 years.
Crystal Peoples of the New York State Assembly is hopeful about the future. “The opportunity to build is more magnificent than tearing the buildings down,” she said. “Eradicating an eyesore that’s been in our community for 30 years shows that you can be hopeful. The development of downtown and the East Side of Buffalo shows Buffalo is on the move.”
Now that the ground upon which the buildings sit is cleaned up for the most part, it’s what’s inside that’s the problem. “It will take one year to remove the buildings. All of the asbestos requires a very safe removal method in order to meet EPA standards. In the 1960’s [when the site was built] asbestos was widely used.”