Demolition of Kensington Heights to Continue Through Winter

The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) has voted to negotiate
with M&T Bank for a $3.5 million bridge loan to ensure that the demolition
of Kensington Heights can continue through the winter and within EPA
guidelines. Two of the six buildings have already been demolished and the loan
from M&T would supplement the remaining $3.3 million in state funds to demolish
the remaining buildings, which are filled with asbestos. 

Demolition of the complex began in May and two of the towers
have already come down and the soil around them has been remediated. The
remaining buildings await demolition and are wrapped in double-ply polyurethane
to contain all the asbestos materials.

If the loan is approved an additional building would be
slated for total demolition over winter and demolition of another building
would be started. The BMHA anticipates securing the funding by next spring to
demolish the remaining buildings and finish the remediation work of the site. An
eight-foot high security fence secures the site and security patrols between
8am to 4pm, seven days a week to ensure there are no trespassers.

The $3.3 million remains from a $5 million New York State
Dormitory Authority grant to conduct the work. Under the EPA’s plan, an
additional $5 million to $10 million will be needed to complete the project and
demolish the other four buildings.

Kensington Towers was built in 1958 and has been vacant
since 1980. It was built as a federal and state development with sixty-seven
units per building and some common area space. Many parallels can be drawn
between the development and the failure of the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in
St. Louis. Built in a similar fashion, Pruitt-Igoe was erected in 1954 as an
urban renewal and slum clearance project. Although it was initially successful,
the development failed for a number of reasons and was demolished in in the
mid-1970s.

About the author  ⁄ david steele

27 comments
bfloboy86
bfloboy86

This should be cause for celebration. But it took 32 YEARS from the time these were abandoned to tear them down.

LastManIn
LastManIn

The asbestos the buildings are filled with is called "floor tile". Deadly floor tile.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

In the comments, if you put "http://" on the front of your URLs they'll show up as clickable links! #protip

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

Great story -- so glad you shared it!

paulsobo
paulsobo

You cant destroy the church and destroy the neighborhood and destroy the community and destroy marriage and destroy the family and destroy the public schools and expect government to fill in all those gaps.

It just doesnt work that way

Thats why it failed and thats why it still fails.

Even today our economy is failing beause there are too many oligarchies of multi-nationals and banks that destroy anything new. Every country in the world wants the next Microsoft or the next Google and they will finance it and they will protect the patents and the market until its a global product. The US isnt concerned about protecting anything except guns and porn.

Sad but true

Chris
Chris

Over half a decade later and we are still cleaning up from these messes. The crazy part is that China is doing this same exact thing right now. Glad that as a country we have for the most part started to get development and community on the same page.

Cam33r4
Cam33r4

Those look like photos from Pripyat post-Chernobyl meltdown...

Pubmoney1
Pubmoney1

I wonder how many asbestos removal scams are being done out there, A lot government grant money being passed onto politically connected contractors. Pay for play in this town is the norm, just like some third world despot demanding his piece of the action.

buffknut
buffknut

I lived in 102 Glenny Drive from around when it opened (I was too little to know exactly) until 1964. For some reason I only remember 5 buildings; 36, 58, 102, 138, 164. I remember the laundry rooms in the basement and the garbage chute on each floor. It stunk!

There were a million kids in those buildings back then. We rollerskated around the inner circle & played in the concrete playgrounds. The bigger kids played baseball in the parking lots (with a concrete raised median in the middle of the "field".

If you played in the "Fields" between the projects and the Meyer Hospital grounds, the guards would chase you off. Before they started cutting the Kensington Expy, we could cut across the fields to walk to School 61. I still see the old 61 annex building on Kensington. I went to Kindergarten through 2nd grade when they moved us all to "the big school".

I'm glad they are finally tearing the Projects down.

BuffaloEmigrant
BuffaloEmigrant

Give that demolition team a break. They're trying to dear down those buildings asbestos they can.

Buffalogni
Buffalogni

Any recent pictures from inside the buildings? I am curious what buildings look like after being closed for 32 years.

flyguy
flyguy

Geez. 32 years to get these things gone! Closed back in 1980! Been closed longer than they had residents.

irishkwh
irishkwh

just another example of my taxes dollars going to waste because of low income housing!

informedone
informedone

Some like ham bestos, some like steak bestos, me I like asbestos

Captain Picard
Captain Picard

Oh NO! Why aren't we saving these magnificent structures???? Surely, there must be some sort of adaptive re-use potential here! Let's organize a protest to prevent the demolition of these BEAUTIFUL AND HISTORIC PROPERTIES! Whatever will we do once they are gone forever? These could make great exhibition spaces or concert venues! This part of town is just aching for a developer to come in and spend millions!!!!

Wake up Buffalo!!!!!!!!

#sarcasm

Buffalo_Resurrection
Buffalo_Resurrection

When you state “filled with asbestos” are you referring to materials that were reportedly dumped into the basements of the existing buildings (from those that were remediated) or the fact that asbestos material is present in the building’s construction?

My exposure (pun) to this job site was met with reinforced concrete buildings clad in a brick exterior where any visible asbestos was gone. However, I could not attest to the fact that the concrete may have contained asbestos.

Even so…

Unless you have a history of working with asbestos where you may have inhaled the fibers or were part of the removal of asbestos material such as insulation, I am perplexed as to the hype attributed to a building containing asbestos.

Though, from an architectural point-of-view, there is no loss in these buildings being demolished, they were, however, well- constructed and would have lasted several generations and failed as a housing complex only because inner city culture turned “projects” into a negative connotation.

The original inhabitants of this building in 1955 were probably veterans returning from the Korean War seeking affordable housing.

Kensington Heights is not so much a failed housing project scheme as it is a tragic reminder of a failed society.

CommonSense
CommonSense

Also don't forget "Travelrrr" that you can't rely on the Buffalo News for anything...

batmankh
batmankh

Can't wait to play softball 30 yards away... They should close Glenny Park for the Summer. There's no way all of that will be contained and not head out into the neighborhood during demo.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

And, don't forget about the intrigue surrounding this demo project:

www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121204/CITYANDREGION/121209621/1010

BuffaloFenian
BuffaloFenian

I realize that 8:00a - 4:00p may be demolition hours, and hence they want to prevent people from getting injured. But, wouldn't it make sense to have a security patrol specifically from 4p-8a for every other concern (drug use, violence, etc.)?? Why leave it unsecured (sans fence) during the night hours? I plead ignorance on this one, and haven't had time to fully think it through, to be truthful!

danofthedesert
danofthedesert

Well said

My parents moved in after my father returned from Korea and he started his family there...we never locked our doors and new all the neighbors...our parents kept tbe hallways clean and the laundry room and immaculate...it was a nice place to grow up then...

unfortunately social economic deversity could not prevail as the entitled nonworking class moved in and ravaged the very foundation of the premise that we can all work together and attain a better life...We moved out because more people were now there not working for the good of the community but the fleecing of good nature...

Those were pretty big apartments but the people had to want it, they got what they wanted.., it was sad visiting friends who stayed but they too got out...

Wish it would have worked loved that place

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