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Mayor Brown, GSA mark the official tranfser of the Dillon Courthouse to the City of Buffalo
November 22 – After recently acquiring the vacant Michael J. Dillon Federal Courthouse from the U. S. General Services Administration (GSA), at a cost of $1, Mayor Byron W. Brown and GSA Regional Administrator Denise Pease, joined by Congressman Brian Higgins, Members of the Buffalo Common Council and other elected leaders, dignitaries and City Commissioners, today made it official during a special deed-signing ceremony inside the historic Court Street landmark. The building will be transformed into the new City of Buffalo Police and Fire Headquarters at the Michael J. Dillon U.S. Courthouse Building.
Mayor Brown stated, “I thank and proudly accept the U.S. General Service Administration's congratulations and best wishes for the continued use of the historic Michael J. Dillon Building as the new state-of-the-art City of Buffalo Police and Fire Headquarters; and further extend my appreciation to GSA Regional Administrator Denise Pease and her staff for their diligence and commitment to facilitating a seamless and efficient transfer of this historic site, allowing it to be adaptively and productively reused to further strengthen public safety in Buffalo.”
A new public safety building has been one of Mayor Brown’s top priorities and today’s announcement is another reflection of his continued commitment to preserve and re-purpose historic buildings, while stimulating additional development. The Dillon courthouse, a nine-story structure constructed in 1936, has been vacant since the Robert H. Jackson Courthouse opened at Niagara Square in November 2011. Under Mayor Brown’s direction, the City submitted an application to the Department of Justice in April 2016 seeking to gain control of the courthouse for a “Law Enforcement Public Benefit Conveyance.” The Department of Justice reviewed the application and ruled in favor of the request.
“The Dillon Courthouse sits along Niagara Square and was in need of a reuse plan that took into consideration the unique history of this city center and fits the future needs of the community,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “Transformation of the building into the City’s public safety center provides a centralized government campus with city, state, federal and county resources steps away from one another supporting continued partnerships and efficiencies.”
“I applaud GSA and the City of Buffalo for their collaboration, and for putting the vacant Dillon Courthouse to good use in a way that will benefit all Buffalo residents,” Senator Charles Schumer said. “Public safety and state-of-the art facilities for our first responders are critical to the economic vitality of Western New York, as well as the quality of life for our residents. I look forward working with Mayor Brown and GSA to see this project through to completion.”
"The new Public Safety Campus at the former Dillon Federal Courthouse will bring Buffalo Police and Buffalo Fire Headquarters together under one roof. This move translates to a safer Buffalo and will allow the delivery of services to be more efficient,” said Common Council President Darius Pridgen. “By combining the Police and Fire Headquarters it will reduce the maintenance and overhead cost; the new public safety campus will save the City of Buffalo a lot of money in the long term. I want to thank Mayor Brown and GSA for their hard work in putting this important building back into productive use.”
Majority Leader and Niagara District Council Member David Rivera stated, “I want to commend the Mayor, his administration, and GSA for working expeditiously to bring the Michael J. Dillon U.S. Courthouse back to use. Additionally, Congressman Higgins and Senator Schumer deserve recognition for their urging to GSA that community and economic impact be prioritized over profit in deciding the building’s future use. Our Police and Fire Departments deserve top-notch office space and the Dillon Courthouse is a gem. Despite its age, its recent updates to the elevators, roof, and energy system make it a very efficient building. Most importantly, I am pleased the building will be used to support public servants in the name of Michael J. Dillon, who dedicated his life to public service.”
As part of the next step in the process, The City of Buffalo Department of Public Works will issue a Request for Proposals for renovations and upgrades to the courthouse to accommodate both police and fire. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2017, with a tentative completion date of September 1, 2017.
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Photos by Angel Art LTP, compliments of the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional photos by Adrian Roselli, compliments of Algonquin Studios