PBN: What’s the Delay with Trico Landmarking?

From Preservation Buffalo Niagara:
 
On Friday, December 28th, 2012, Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN) sent a letter to Ellicott District Council Member Darius Pridgen regarding the status of the stalled local landmark nomination application for the historic Trico Plant #1 Building located in his district. The application would designate the already national register-listed building as a local historic landmark and would in turn guarantee valuable community input regarding the property’s ultimate future. PBN, the region’s foremost preservation advocacy organization, is concerned that the City of Buffalo is not abiding by its own laws at an immeasurable cost to its citizens. 
The Letter to Council Member Pridgen states that, “it has been several months since the Legislation Committee of the Buffalo Common Council (Committee), of which you are the chairman, has had any legislative action on the application.” Per the City’s adopted Preservation Ordinance, the Legislation Committee has 30 days from the date of the required public hearing to act on an application for locally landmarking a significant building. The public hearing was held on April 24th, 2012, over 35 weeks ago from today’s date. This public hearing followed the unanimous approval of the application by the City’s Preservation Board on March 8th of that same year. 
The failure of the Committee to act on the application is a blatant violation of the rule of law and denies the citizens of the City of Buffalo the privileges entitled to them under the Preservation Ordinance. 
The importance of local landmark designation cannot be understated. This law ensures that an informed, public conversation occurs concerning the future of significant, irreplaceable buildings in our communities. To be considered a local landmark, properties must fulfill established criteria relating to architectural design, historic significance, and community importance among others outlined in the Preservation Ordinance. Using these criteria, the Preservation Board unanimously approved the local landmark nomination application for the Trico Plant #1 Building over nine months ago. The inaction on behalf of the Committee is restricting the vital right of the community to preserve our heritage. 
PBN respectfully requests that the application for this historic building be properly discharged from the Committee as soon as possible and sequentially be approved by the Common Council at its next regular meeting. Preservation Buffalo Niagara is eager to assist the City in whatever capacity to ensure that the rights and privileges afforded to the citizens of the City of Buffalo under the Preservation Ordinance are understood and followed. 
Click here for a PDF version of this Press Release and for PBN’s Letter to Council Member Pridgen.

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19 comments
Threepointer
Threepointer

[comments removed for continual use of multiple screen names]

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

DON'T GIVE THE KIDS ANY IDEAS

buffloonitick
buffloonitick

so all of the kids with the black makeup on their faces should now be called 'Noths' ?

no wonder i'm confused.

"Realist"
"Realist"

I feel the need to throw some cold reality water over Hillbilly/Burchjp's demo chearleading.

SH> "The reason this building has not achieved "landmark" status is because the rational people outside of the six "preservationists" who comment on this site realize that there is nothic historically significant about this building."

That's false. Not false in the subjective, I-disagree-with-your-views sense, but the obvious, black and white, correct-vs-incorrect sense.

Trico is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That means "rational people" evaluated the building on objective criteria and determined the place to be of national historic significance.

I'll add that the criteria for NR status is more stringent than the city's Preservation Ordinance making NR designated properties a virtual shoe in for local landmark status.

NRHP criteria: http://www.achp.gov/nrcriteria.html

City criteria: http://ecode360.com/13624575

see #15 "Criteria for designation." You only need to meet one of them!

Any delay here has nothing to do with BRO's "realist"-pro demo-anti urban crowd's opinion of Trico's historic merit.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

"nothic"?? Well if this building is Nothic Revival, that definitely qualifies as historic.

Up and coming
Up and coming

"being old does not make it historic"

That's me!

suburban_hillbilly
suburban_hillbilly

This is comical. The reason this building has not achieved "landmark" status is because the rational people outside of the six "preservationists" who comment on this site realize that there is nothic historically significant about this building. As others have said here many times, being old does not make it historic. It is a decrepit wiper blade factory. It is not one of the "significant, irreplaceable buildings in our community" Some structures are worth fighting for. This is not one of them. Godspeed to the BNMC in getting it demolished.

LouisTully
LouisTully

What a novel idea, hire an architect. A person that likely possesses greater vision and knowledge of what is potential and possible than the "progress" crowd.

hamp
hamp

That's why you hire an architect. This building can be reused for any number of new uses.

Soccerdude5719
Soccerdude5719

Here's to hoping Cuomo comes through with his "bifurcation" idea for historic tax credits. This structure is too big and no company will try and redevelop it.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

Perhaps we should table this.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

Not correct! Many similar projects have created internal lightwells & atria in adaptive reuse projects of large buildings -- and because the alterations are all-internal, have still remained eligible for historic preservation tax credits. The other effect of using this option is to reduce the internal square footage, making the remainder more manageable to program and market.

From your comment history it looks like you may have started reading us recently, so check out this article from last spring by the very talented Nicholas Tyler Miller with some great illustrations of a lightwell concept for Trico reuse:

http://www.buffalorising.com/2012/03/uncovering-the-trico-plants-beauty.html

To your other point, "we can't save everything," it's pretty clear that we're nowhere near "saving" anything like "everything" -- but with intelligent use of resources like historic preservation tax credits & creative options like the lightwell concept we can save many. Like Trico.

To your other other point about the building being a "mess": while it has some issues, the consulting team that worked on the adaptive reuse study (including folks with extensive experience with environmental remediation & restoration/repair of reinforced concrete and historic masonry) found that for the most part the condition of Trico is not out of line from what one would expect with an industrial building of that era. Shorter: no "showstoppers" that would stand in the way of reuse.

informedone
informedone

Plan to do, tell you privately? What kind of hypo-hysteria fiscal cliff BS is that? Some days I plan on wearing a blue shirt even thought the night before I told myself I was going to wear a red shirt....table talk is just that table talk. Conversations with politicians carry as much water as a pack of chewing gum does.Do you believe everything you read in the paper or all that Speaker Boehner says he is going to do? Lay off the pixie dust.

To say the BNMC is passing lip service around the table is inaccurate. There has been a study conducted, laying out a couple of options, obviously they don't mimic your opinion based on your extensive FINANCE ABLE redevelopment experience, I don't find this surprising.

Now PBN is stating they will conduct some type of peer review of the study presented.Great we can table talk about that. But until an actual "action" is presented peoples' "plans" or "intentions" are just that...table talk.

The sun will shine on all these discussion once an action is presented. Let's hope it is soon as the icicles hanging off the window sills are getting long.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

Last I heard on this (last summer) the landmarking was being held up because BNMC, despite having committed to working with the preservation community on a preservation-focused adaptive reuse study, was telling the administration and some councilmembers that it remained their intention to demolish the building (or a substantial portion).

When all was said and done, no matter what they publicly said or did, what I heard was ultimately proven correct.

Think about the implications of that a sec: if you're a community leader making decisions about matters involving BNMC, the only time you can really believe BNMC is when they tell you privately that they intend to do the opposite of what they're saying publicly. Quite an indictment, that.

OU812
OU812

Can't save everything...the building is a mess..it is too wide to convert to residential - inner units wouldn't have daylight/windows, etc...

paulsobo
paulsobo

Knowing Brown and Prigeon, they won't approve it unless something is in it for them

They are corrupt vote buyers out to enrich themselves and their patronage

I don't know how anyone [Deleted- flaming]

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Amen Louis. Amen.

It's baffling that people still don't get that we are throwing away one of our key assets, if not the key asset. So, so tragic.

LouisTully
LouisTully

Any Old North updates??????

Well crafted letter. It's disappointing and shocking how this community and its leaders still don't get it about preservation. It's not about hugging a tree and being a hippy. It's about respecting our heritage. Due process of the protocol that's in place. Oh, and, it's probably the thing bringing the most positive attention and greatest source of revitalization in this town. And let's not forget how the slash and burn of the 60's worked out for us.

That disgusting, blighted building on the southeast end of Lafayette Square was worth the wait. I'll stare at the decrepitude of Bethlehem Steel Ad for a while and take the chances on what's ahead.

HighPost
HighPost

OMG! The sky is falling....

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