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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2012 Archives > May 2012 > Mayor Brown Targets The Worst Abandoned Commercial Buildings In Buffalo

Mayor Brown Targets The Worst Abandoned Commercial Buildings In Buffalo

Contact: Lorey Schultz
              (716) 851-5545

The City launches the official start to large scale commercial demolitions

The landscape is about to change in some Buffalo neighborhoods.  Today, Mayor Byron W. Brown, Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning Brendan Mehaffy, and Permits and Inspection Services Commissioner James Comerford announced the start of a plan to demolish the “worst of the worst” of commercial structures in Buffalo.

“We want city residents to know that 10 abandoned commercial structures, targeted as the “worst of the worst” in Buffalo, are coming down,” said Mayor Brown.  “Like many cities across the State, Buffalo has a high number of abandoned commercial buildings that are not only eyesores, but drag down property values, spread blight, and often become magnets for crime.   Our goal is to further stabilize and improve neighborhoods by replacing blight with open space, ready for development.”

In the past few months, the city demolished three of the 10 abandoned commercial structures on the “worst of the worst” list. These abandoned structures were smaller in scale, or required emergency demolition.  (Those sites included: 202 Walden, 257 Virginia, and 630 High)  With the tear-down of 197 Lathrop and 46 Metcalf about to begin, the city will have spent $1.2 million since January 2012 on commercial demolitions.

The abandoned structure at 197 Lathrop, built 100 years ago, was known in the 1940’s and 50’s as the Lumen Bearing Company, a brass foundry and machine shop.  Today, it’s located near a residential neighborhood where property owners are working hard to improve their properties.  City officials say the structure has become a health and safety hazard as a result of broken windows, chipped paint, unstable roof and trash.

The other commercial structures targeted for demolition include: 630 Genesee, 1006 Clinton, 1681 Fillmore, 1740 Bailey, and 308 Crowley.  In terms of demolition costs, each tear-down will depend on a number of factors including the size of the structure and asbestos removal. (Of the five contracts bid out, the cost ranges anywhere from $100 thousand to over $500 thousand for demolition.) In terms of timing, it will depend on a number of factors, including talks with property owners, residents and any environmental concerns.

Much like Mayor Brown’s “5 & 5” pledge to demolish 5,000 blighted residential structures in five years, the goal of this program is to further stabilize and improve neighborhoods by removing blight.  Since 2006, his aggressive residential demo and rehab program has made a difference.  Over 4,379 structures have been demolished and another 943 units rehabbed.  This year, the city will invest $5.7 million from a variety of funding sources to conduct more than 300 demolitions.