Trico Building: BNMC and Preservation Buffalo Niagara

Earlier today, Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN) released a statement regarding the Trico Plant #1 Building. The Trico building, as most Buffalo Rising readers are aware, sits on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). The BNMC is the designated developer for the building

In the statement, Preservation Buffalo Niagara noted that they were appreciative of the opportunity to have met with the BNMC director regarding the building. The statement continues: 
Our part in the discussion involved the offer to assist educating those involved as to the historic preservation opportunities regarding reuse of the building and the State and Federal regulatory processes involved with National Register Listed sites. Additionally we offered to assist in seeking funding to finance a historic preservation adaptive reuse study for the Trico Plant #1 Building.

The BNMC has declined these offers of assistance. We recognize and regret that, since the building is not protected by local landmark designation, the designated developer’s stated desire to demolish the building will likely occur without requesting in permission from the city’s Preservation Board. We understand that an agreement for a phased demolition of the building has been executed and may soon be implemented. It is also our understanding that no plans have been made for the immediate reuse of the site. We are disappointed that this decision has been made without the availability of a reuse study determining the feasibility of a historic preservation rehab of the building. Preservation Buffalo Niagara feels strongly that expending the time and resources to determine ways to preserve historic buildings in our community should be a priority when deciding the future of such buildings. Furthermore, we believe that a larger community discussion regarding decisions of this nature is required given the designated developer’s standing in the community as well as the historic significance of the Trico Plant #1 Building.

We wish that we would have had the opportunity to participate earlier in the discussions so that we could have provided access to such information before the decision for demolition was made. We continue to offer our assistance to provide education to the BNMC and any other building owner regarding preservation and preservation related matters such as historic preservation reuse studies.

This release was picked up and published by most other media outlets including Buffalo Spree and Artvoice

In response to the PBN’s statement, Matt Enstice, President and Chief Executive Officer of the BNMC, said “I was surprised to see some of the comments in the statement released by Preservation Buffalo Niagara earlier today. I have met with PBN and other preservation organizations regularly over the past 2 1/2 months, shared everything requested and feel like we are working as good partners. We were in the middle of discussions when this was released. Until we speak with these partners, we will have no further comment.” 

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76 comments
YesSir
YesSir

Who is saying it is being planned for parking? Nobody that I have heard. This is a myth.

YesSir
YesSir

This looks like a Fox News line-up for the left.

Joe E.V.
Joe E.V.

Meeting was cancelled, being reset.

Billo
Billo

I certainly don't think there is anything special about this building that warrants preserving it, maybe at some point there was but now it's probably too far gone to consider. However, I am concerned about demolishing it if there is not an immediate plan to build something else on the site, and also as someone pointed out earlier that the new structure may not be built to the curb. On balance the BNMC has done a heck of a lot more good than harm for the city so I'm willing to cut them a little slack on this. I don't have a strong view on the preservation of the TRICO building but I doubt it fits well with the needs of the BNMC and the time to make our voices heard is probably when concrete plans are made to actually build something new on the current site.

RPreskop
RPreskop

I have mixed emotions on whether or not the Trico Building should be demolished. It has very large floor plates which makes it attractive for business tenants looking for 30,000 sq. ft. or more per floor. It still is very solid structurally and it is architecturally impressive. If they are going to demolish this landmark former factory just to put in asphalt surface parking lots for more single occupant automobiles than I am very deeply opposed to demolition. It is time for Americans to abandon the private automobile and support and use public transit. Even if there is a series of new buildings planned for the Trico site, what are they going to look like?

Nickel City Joe
Nickel City Joe

Even with a plan for a new building - not sure why tear this down. There are acres of surface parking lot across the street.

whatever
whatever

hamp, what I questioned is just if digging up the real Commercial Slip has had much affect on Canalside's popularity with the general public and attendance.

I get why preservation activists from their perspectives wanted the real slip to be used instead of what NYS people at first proposed to have a fake/replica water slip built near there.

But providing space for the popular stuff down there (concerts, big wooden chairs, etc.) wouldn't necessarily depend on using the real/historic slip and its rocks which don't explode. If public space had been added to the NYS plan but wasn't at the precise historic spot of the Central Warf, the general popularity level might be at least the same as now.

It's possible that Canalside's historic accuracy isn't what's popular, and that its popular stuff doesn't depend on being historically accurate. That isn't criticism of the preservationist people lobbying for what they wanted to happen. It just seems a stretch to credit that for public popularity is all - at least so far.

About Trico - the amount of (or lack of) contamination should be made public as objectively as possible before final decisions are made. But if anybody is really assuming it isn't very dangerously contaminated just because the Commercial Slip's allegedly-exploding rocks didn't explode, that would sound like very illogical reasoning.

hamp
hamp

The "exploding rocks" theory was given as the reason not to excavate the canals at their historic (actual) locations. Instead the city was proposing a very generic harbor plan that didn't have canals, and didn't have a Central Wharf (where all the crowds can be found now).

It was a terrible plan. And we're lucky Tielman "exposed" the exploding rocks for what they were - nonsense. Or we wouldn't have Canalside the way it's being built today.

BuffaloQPublic
BuffaloQPublic

FYI -- Educational Public Meeting re: Trico Plant #1 Building (3/13/12)

**Info was received in an e-mail from Preservation Buffalo [info@p-b-n.org].

Tuesday, March 13th, at 6:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, One Symphony Circle, there will be a public meeting regarding the current status of the Trico Plant #1 Building. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m.

- Frank Kowsky, Architectural Historian and Professor, will give a short presentation on the history of the National Register designated building.

- Tom Yots, Executive Director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara, will discuss the option of a reuse study for the building and support of the regulatory process.

- Question & Answer period with:

Elizabeth Martin, State Historic Preservation Office

Tom Yots, Preservation Buffalo Niagara

Frank Kowsky, Historian

Martin Wachadlo, Historian

Representatives from the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Preservation Board, BNMC and other local organizations have been invited to attend.

Park on the surrounding streets (free after 5pm)

instead of in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot.

YesSir
YesSir

The toxins left behind by Trico have leached into the concrete floor. I'm not sure it even has to do with the roof being exposed, but the core samples came up with mercury and even cyanide at penetration level of more than an inch deep, which creates a serious health issue for redevelopment, then you have a love canal in the basement from the exposed roof and contaminated water working its way down. As to the report, it's not my place, an acronym would need to release it.

It's a sad story, but demonizing the current developers is not helpful, they did not leave behind the legacy, Trico did.

norwalk
norwalk

The building roof is mostly missing thanks to the prior developer.Also its a damn ugly building...Pick your battles wisley because people begin to tune you out and you become known as Obstructionists...

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Sounds a lot like the "exploding rocks" story at the commercial slip. I think this contamination claim is a exaggerated attempt to push the demo, wouldn't be the first time the condition of a building was misrepresented to facilitate demolition.

brownteeth
brownteeth

"If it is infact contaminated...lets see some proof. If I were at the BNMC..I'd come up with what I want to put there."

You're correct. If it's contaminated that bad, it would be an excellent point to justify tearing it down, one that I could agree with if the proof is there. Secondly, if they also had a plan for once it's gone then that would reinforce demolition.

Currently, based on the information in the news, etc., they have given no proof it's contaminated beyond remediation which would be something worth mentioning to defend their stance.

I just can't see this place being anymore contaminated than the other two Trico Buildings currently in use (Austin Air & Tri-main). Furthermore, the Dulski (Avant) was filled with sprayed-on asbestos and received major breaks to remove the asbestos to make the building usable again. I imagine that would apply here too, coupled with the historic tax credits available.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Karl, you seem to be in the know about this. Is there a way this reuse study by the BNMC can be viewed by the public? I googled it but didn't find anything.

I'm curious to read more about the supposed contaminants that people are throwing around here as a reason not to restore this place. Typically, the worst toxins associated with a site like this are oils from wrecked machinery and/or stored waste oil. Since these materials aren't water soluble, it would be difficult for them to wash into "every nook and cranny of the concrete" no matter how much rain infiltrated the place.

But that's just based on my understanding of what gets left behind when a manufacturer leaves town. If there were any other water soluble chemicals stored here, which weren't removed with other waste when McGarvey owned it, this study (if credible) should explain where they are and how they found them.

Otherwise I'm inclined to agree with Hamp in that the toxic concrete is another "pop rocks" style excuse to move on to an easier plan.

whatever
whatever

Although how popular it is can be argued, I very much doubt that even 1% of people who went to Canalside so far would not have done so if the original stone walls weren't visible. Perhaps if fake stone walls had been used instead, maybe Esmonde, Teilman, and a few others might have protested by boycotting the concerts, yoga, food shack, wooden chairs, etc.

Despite so much hype from some about how important visibility of those original stones would be, in recent years I've never seen those mentioned even in passing by anybody until hamp did now. And it wouldn't even be mentioned now except in analogy to this other topic.

Maybe if the stones really did explode once in a while it could attract people to see that during the very quiet months down there.

Buffalo All Star
Buffalo All Star

Lets see what they plan on putting there..thats an excellent point about Mr. Garvey. He had a plan that unfortunately never came to fruition...it seems like the prior owners wouldn't have wasted the time if the building was beyond saving.

I do like the building..its imposing stature getting off rt. 33. Its an awesome reminder of Buffalo's industrial history..warehouses like this (A variety of uses) are being reused all over the country.

If it is infact contaminated...lets see some proof. If I were at the BNMC..I'd come up with what I want to put there.

hamp
hamp

All this talk about "contaminants" reminds me of the "exploding rocks" at Canalside.

Just silly talk to help justify a bad plan for the waterfront.

Thanks to the preservation-minded "obstructionists" we are now getting a waterfront that is unique and popular. And the stone walls didn't explode after all.

Tim
Tim

Sad. Let's take wagers on how much it will cost to demolish. $25,000,000 is mine. Its 600,000 sq ft of possibly contaminated reinforced concrete for gosh sakes. We pay $20,000 for a wooden shack... Let's do the math. It has got to be a ton of money. What a waste, unless they can go after trico to cover the cost.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/DfzYRqodiujy3Gz.HcPIzp2A1Pc
https://me.yahoo.com/a/DfzYRqodiujy3Gz.HcPIzp2A1Pc

Two points here.

#1. To those ranting about the building being contaminated: where is there an official statement about that ? I haven't seen it.

#2. To those who quote other statements (Buffalo News comments, etc.), please put quotation marks around those comments.

warehousedweller
warehousedweller

people this building is saturated with contaminants. it is soaked into the concrete! take a look back at love canal!whoever owns it should be able to do what they want to with it!

YesSir
YesSir

They have done one. it would be great if someone reported the whole story. I guess BNMC deserves fault for not getting the whole story out, based upon peoples responses here, as nobody knows even half the story.

KangDangaLang
KangDangaLang

Probably because of this little reported BRO fact....

"Spared would be about 20 percent of the building's newest addition, which isn't landmarked, and houses the Innovation Center, a technology incubator near full occupancy."

brownteeth
brownteeth

I would get behind a new building if it has it's own architectural merits and relevant function to the end user. However, BNMC has no specific plans whatsoever. Furthermore, what's wrong with the equally large surface lot directly across the street? That's ready to go today. Why not build the next building there first before they tear down a very well built structure? These are simple questions that should be answered before the wrecking ball arrives.

Joe E.V.
Joe E.V.

Good question, has it been answered anywhere? It'd be nice to know who has the juice to get an article edited after it's published. If it was done above board, there'd just be an editorial comment stating the basis for the change. NN, speak up!

Nickel City Joe
Nickel City Joe

It probably is economically feasible to reuse the site:

1) The former owner, Steve McGarvey, put together detailed plans for reuse of the building around 2003. Floyd Alberts was the architect. The plan received a conditional approval from SHPO - which means that there was considerable investment to put the plan together. When McGarvey ran the numbers, he was convinced that reuse was feasible.

2) Since 2003, the value of this location has greatly increased because of the expansion of the medical campus. If McGarvey's plan was somewhat feasible in 2003, it should be doubly feasible today.

3) Since 2003, the state has put in place an additional 20% historic tax credit that can be used for reuse of this building, which combined with the federal tax credit, amounts to 40%. So, again, reuse is more feasible than in 2003.

The bottom line is, no one knows if it is economically feasible to reuse the building, including BNMC. There has been no reuse study - which is PBN's complaint. BNMC owes it to the community to do something similar to what Kaleida is doing with the Gates Circle Hospital - bring in a reuse expert and conduct a serious and transparent reuse study.

Joe E.V.
Joe E.V.

Should read "just because it is a factory..."

YesSir
YesSir

Channel 7 just announced that Olmstead is rolling in his grave again. That guy must get dizzy.

LouisTully
LouisTully

Just a funny, ignorant comment from over at the Buff News comment section of this story. Thought I'd share in case this sort of vomit hadn't been spewed here yet:

The Buffalo area has remained stagnet because everyone want to preserve every apect of an industrial has been city. When are the residents that want to keep every old decrepit building going to wake up? Pisst, you're not in the 1930's anymore, it's 2012. Build new buildings, modernize, then in the year 2100, those bulding will be worth saving for preservationist of that era. Buffalo isn't England. Just save the parks, and a select few buildings and move on. What's wrong with progress? If things don't soon change around Buffalo, It will surely be deemed a ghost town, with plenty of ghostly buildings. Oh, what ever happened to that peace bridge that was suppose to be built back in 1990? Was it ever completed? ....No? I wonder why. Some Buffalo residents just don't want to wake up and see the only way forward to moving Buffalo into this centry, is to let go of the past. Reminds me of the computer age, and my parents were afraid to use the computer. Now they are a wizz on it, and not afraid anymore . Don't be afraid of change Buffalo!! Still proud to call Buffalo HOME!

Nickel City Joe
Nickel City Joe

Not only is there no plan, but there are acres of surface parking lot across the street. SO, if the innovation center needs to be expanded, use the huge parking lot.

LouisTully
LouisTully

They bought it but do they still own it?

"It was purchased by Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus at auction for $12.4 million in 2007.

Ownership was transferred to Buffalo Brownfield Restoration Corp., a subsidiary of Buffalo Urban Development Corp., which then made the Medical Campus the developer."

Seems like a round-about way to do things. Why was ownership transferred if you're going to remain the developer? A way to get $ through the Brownfield Rest. Corp.?

nick
nick

Loft buildings like this are extremely popular for reuse right now, both residential and lab/commercial. I hope the environmentals do illustrate that it cannot be reused safely as this is a great waste otherwise. You will never have a building of this size at this location again.

saltecks
saltecks

I'm looking at:

Buffalo Architecture: A Guide. by Banham, Beverigde, and Hitchcock 2nd printing 1982, MIT press. Personally, it is the best compilation of Buffalo Architecture (still standing and long gone) that I have seen. Trico Plant # 2 on main is included, But this building is not even mentioned. I like the building, but if it is as toxic as they claim, I certainly wouldn't want to be inside on a day to day basis, even after decontamination.

Joe E.V.
Joe E.V.

If there's no plan for the site, what's the reason for taking it down? Other than rumor of contamination beyond remediation, it doesn't sound like there is one. Just because it's not a factory building and not a Wright/Sullivan/Richardson building doesn't mean it is not worth preserving, especially when there is no plan for the site. Who knows, maybe the med. campus will come up with a plan for using it, or determine it doesn't need the site at all. "Shovel ready" is overvalued.

paulsobo
paulsobo

600,000 sqft is exactly why the Trico Building should be re-used. Who is going to build such a large building in Buffalo? Its irreplaceable for that reason alone.

after the generations who have passed this on the way downtown, its an icon and it should stay...another sad day for Buffalo.

suburban_hillbilly
suburban_hillbilly

The BNMC is the best thing going in Buffalo right now. The Trico Plant is not an architecturally releveant building so if it must be demolished in favor of state of the art medical facilities, so be it. It is a windshield wiper blade factory, not Henry Ford's original workshop. Trico moved operations to Mexixo. It's time to move forward with an organization focused on Buffalo and WNY. The BNMC is that organization.

brownteeth
brownteeth

I am a huge proponent of picking your battles. This is one worth picking if for no other reason than the BNMC currently has no plans for the site once the building is demolished and it's in no imminent danger to the public. Furthermore, if they're looking for shovel ready sites look no further than across the street to the huge surface parking lot.

If they can't envision a reuse for the building then maybe they should drive over to Larkin or Tri-Main.

The bottom line is that there is NO plan in place so what's the rush? I guarantee any building that replaces this will not be built to the curb and have the physical presence the Trico currently has that's irreplacable.

norwalk
norwalk

REALLY....Pick your battles there are plenty of other structures in the city that are worth saving..This building is not worth saving.....With all the good that is happening with the medical campus ..lets not derail it...

YesSir
YesSir

It is important to pick your battles and I think if anyone so much as touches the convention center it's game on.

rustbeltcity
rustbeltcity

I'm sure all the postive comments from your armchairs will save it which is about as far as it goes for most of you. "I'm going to write a comment on BRO and give people thumb's down, that'll show em"

ReginaldQMerriweatherIV
ReginaldQMerriweatherIV

I'll try to help you out one question at a time...

"Why is the Medical Campus the "developer" for the trico building?"

-They bought the building.

Why is the trico building going to be demolished?

-Because the owners have stated that the building is contaminated with chemicals beyond repair and does not suit their needs.

"What is going to be built on that site?"

-An expansion of the innovation center that currently occupies the rest of the Trico complex.

What if nothing new is built there for 20 years?

-That is ok because this land isn't used for anything now anyways beyond storing a useless building.

"Why is the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus going to demolish the trico building?"

-I answered this one already.

"Why is this going to happen?"

-Now you are just getting shrill.

"Can someone at Buffalo Rising figure out why this building is going to be demolished?"

-Finally, no not a chance. If they remove their head's from their @ss for too long, their ears start to get cold and they miss the view.

hamp
hamp

BNMC talks about "innovation" and "excellence". And they can't save this landmark?

If they can't find a way to save this building, they don't deserve to get any more public money.

mikeraleighphd
mikeraleighphd

Why is the Medical Campus the "developer" for the trico building? Why is the trico building going to be demolished? What is going to be built on that site? What if nothing new is built there for 20 years?

Why is the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus going to demolish the trico building? Why is this going to happen? Can someone at Buffalo Rising figure out why this building is going to be demolished?

whatever
whatever

I'd think demo cost bids should definitely be a matter of public record before it happens, since BNMC includes at least two major partners that are fully owned by NY state govt (UB and Roswell). If I'm not mistaken, that means such costs must be revealed just like construction bids are.

However, I don't know how anybody would estimate "cost of reuse", as you're asking. Who would be reusing it, for what, how, when, etc., and would tenants be found, how many, what kind, and how much would tenants pay, …?

Many wild guesses in all that. Such an estimate at best would be a very wide range of possible reuse costs, and even then there's still the possibility of it sitting vacant if demand doesn't happen the way an estimate assumed it would, or if there's even longer delays than expected before cleanup is certified for human occupancy (if that's feasible at all).

If carlmalone was correct in 2007 that it's "contaimenated beyond repair", then maybe there might not be any way to estimate the cost of something that wouldn't be legally allowed to happen (like if some of those 16 toxins are deep in structural concrete and if there aren't ways to remove them…. if, if , if).

Rand503
Rand503

The Trico buildings would be an excellent place for the Albright Knox Art Gallery to expand into. They need a lot more space for all the artwork they hold, and such a large building would be perfect for large installations. It's in a great location.

EB_Blue
EB_Blue

Enstice's claim the BNMC is "working as good partners" is specious. Enstice reportedly told folks at Preservation Buffalo Niagara the BNMC intends to start demolition on April 15 no matter what. What kind of partnership is that?

Trico Plant #1 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. BNMC's conscious neglect of the building and its stated intention to demolish it for a shovel-ready site is disrespectful to this community.

The folks at BNMC should know better.

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