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a view from recently demolished 669 Genesee Street

Partners for a Livable WNY - Archive

Here's an archive of e-mail reports I recieve from George Grasser regarding reports and events involving Partners for a Livable Western New York.

Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Annals of Neglect...

"We'll have to be transparent, to make people feel
as if we're not concocting something behind their back."
- Bishop Kmiec
I'll be tracking Bishop Kmiec's "journey to avoid housing court" and matters relating to the catholic church's downsizing here in Buffalo, NY. I'll try to compare how other Catholic dioceses across the country deal with similar matters including abandoning inner-city property, “demolition by neglect” and housing court issues.

I think it would be interesting to compare "bishop's residences" in other cities experincing the Buffalo's decline and "detroitization" with the surrounding neighborhoods. When possible, it might be helpful to draw some correlations between the value of an average house and the value of the bishop's house. Said otherwise Bishop Kmiec...sell your Mansion, move into a rectory and lead by example. It's not that difficult.
Transfiguration Church - Interior DSCN1630 Buffalo's Old Orphan Home
And while Bishop Kmiec continues to reside at 79 Oakland Place, in the most expensive (highest assesment) residence in the City of Buffalo, it's helpful to remember what happens to former Catholic Church property when it's "flipped" to unsuspecting and irresponsible owners on Buffalo's east-side.

Writing and pictures appearing here on Fix Buffalo Today... Buffalo News - Articles, letters...
Diocesan Stuff...
Slide Shows...
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Information about Post Office Relocation

I received the following notes from Allita Steward this afternoon regarding the PO 14209's relocation...

William Moncrief, Real Estate Specialist for the Northeast Facilities Service Center expressed the Post Office’s desire to expand its operations at the Buffalo, NY Station C Post Office. Postal regulations require that the USPS keeps the City of Buffalo and the local community advised as when expansion or relocation is under consideration. Due to a lack of available land adjacent to the existing facility or available space to reconfigure the interior of the facility, the existing location cannot be expanded to meet future operational requirements. The USPS plans to advertise for both an existing building and a site to construct a new facility. If we find that an existing building is not suitable, then they will construct a new facility.

Key People...

Timothy Wanamaker - Executive Director - Office of Strategic Planning
Room 920 City Hall
, New York 14202

Phone: (716) 851-5050
Fax: (716) 845-0172

Allita Steward - Community Planner - Office of Strategic Planning
Room 920 City Hall
, New York 14202

Phone: (716) 851-5050
Fax: (716) 845-0172

Local US Postal Service Personnel:

Victor C. Laudisio - Customer Relations Coordinator, U.S. Postal Service
1200 William St.
Room 200
, NY 14209-2407

Phone: (716) 846-2536
Fax: (716) 846-2407

Marvin Randolph - Customer Service Manager, U.S. Postal Service
1245 Main Street
, New York14209
Phone: (716) 883-8708

National US Postal Service Personnel:

William S. Moncrief - Real Estate Specialist
Northeast Facilities Service Office
6 Griffin Road North

, CT 06006-0300

Phone: (860) 285-7181
Fax: (860) 285-1287

Robert Lipman
- President
The Crown Partnership, Inc.
45 John Street, Suite 1011

New York
, NY 10038-3706

Phone: (212) 349-9400
Fax: (212) 843-8224

July 13th—Community Meeting Notes

The Postal Service has specified their preferences for the new post office location to have available:

  • 11K sq. Ft
  • 67- 73 parking spaces (to accommodate 21 customers, 28 employees, 16-21 postal vehicles)
  • A 1 story stand alone

The current location has a site area of 29,438 sq. ft. which includes:

  • 6550 sq. ft. Net floor space
  • 21k sq. ft. Parking and maneuvering
  • 159 sq. ft. Ramp and stairs
  • 205 sq. ft. Basement
  • 101 sq. ft. Dock and maneuvering
  • 423 sq. ft. Platform
  • Introduction of Marvin Randolph
  • 45 Day period started on June 28th
  • Site selection is being performed, site to be determined after 45 day period by the private site selector
  • City proposed sites to Crown Partnership
  • Owner of Buffalo Motor Lodge will sell for $2.2 million (unofficially, according to broker from Pyramid Brokerage)
  • Would eminent domain be used to take a property?
  • Leasing back the PO from a developer – are taxes paid to the city on property?
  • PO would like a 1 – Story, stand alone structure
  • Community wants Proper Urban Design consistent with the Transit District Overlay
      • 2 – story Post Office:
      • Back Bay in Boston
      • Potomac in DC
  • Loss of PO jobs to Rochester? Losses are typical of nationwide PO consolidation PO needs 11,000 sq/ft
  • Passports = $$
  • Customer Parking
  • Handicap Access
  • Dock Security
  • Dock Access – 6, 40ft vehicles a day, plus UPS
  • Interior parking for PO Jeeps – 21 vehicles
  • Balcom – possible traffic circle proposed by Bethel, still needs seed money
  • Main & Ferry – Willoby Insurance/1.6 Acres $500,000 (unofficial, according to broker from Pyramid Brokerage) Near the new Performing Arts High School
  • Jefferson Avenue
  • PO not married to Main Street
  • PO 1 mile, preferably ½ mile radius from current location
  • Gas station just beyond Utica
  • Just over an acre
  • Gas station contamination
      • City site-remediation reimbursed by the State
      • Very time consuming process
  • PO relocation ~ 18 months to opening in new location
  • Major cross street location?
  • Good for customer access
  • Safety-wise, not a problem
  • Houses behind a commercial property - Ferry & Main
      • Hold-out – would city take the property through eminent domain Federal government?
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul Building and Enterprise Car Rental site Large site
  • Need to relocate services provided on the site
  • Packard Building
      • Cash owns the homes behind the site also
  • Main & Ferry – Car wash and Glass place
  • Corner Building owned by Scot Fisher – owns Oxford to Main on Ferry
  • Urban Corner – when included with two other possible developments
  • CAO property at Dodge and Parade
  • Focus on Main & Ferry
      • $32 million is being spent at New Performing Arts High School
  • Upcoming Meetings
      • Wednesday July 20th, 2005 @ 6pm
      • Tuesday July 26th, 2005 @ 6pm

Same information covered at all three meetings, opportunity for all in community to participate.

July 20th -- Meeting Notes

  • Rundown of Post Office requirements
      • Locate within ½ mile radius of present location
      • Preference for Main Street
      • Current PO is 7333 sq/ft
      • New: 11,000 sq/ft
      • Parking – 67 stalls: 21 for customers, 28 for employees, 17/18 for PO vehicle parking
      • Preference for a 1-story “cookie cutter” structure
      • Based on community feedback, open for anything
      • PO Real Estate Department makes the final decision on location
      • PO is soliciting input from the community as to site locations
      • PO will advertise for site solicitation within 15 days
  • Councilman Thompson:
      • Push to locate PO on Jefferson Avenue
      • Requested map with locations of facilities in the city
      • Wondered if the East Side is underserved by PO locations
      • Jefferson Avenue is undergoing significant improvements, and the PO relocation could help keep the ball rolling
      • Possible Jefferson Avenue locations:
        • Jefferson and Woodlawn
        • Jefferson and Riley
        • Numerous city-owned properties at both corners
        • Maybe a small retail site on Jefferson?
        • Does not necessarily make sense financially to the PO
        • These are called ‘Contract Stations’
        • Invited all in attendance to a Breakfast Meeting on August 13th at the Delevan/Grider Center
  • Residents who live west of Main Street may not make the trip over to Jefferson Avenue
  • Possible traffic congestion on Jefferson with new developments there
  • Residents from west of Main Street who walk to the PO will probably not walk as far as Jefferson Avenue
  • Problems with routing PO delivery trucks to Jefferson Avenue
  • Possible PO site: Main and Harvard – currently the site of a parking lot
  • Can pull customers from both the west and east sides of Main Street as well as Canisius College students
  • Located closer to the Scajaquada Expressway (NY-198)
  • Could bring cross-Main Street residents together in one location
  • Could be impetus for strong corridor development between Delevan Avenue and Ferry Street
  • New PO location should be placed away from “nefarious” activities
  • Should protect pedestrians from criminal activity
      • Correspondence can be sent to PO at:
        • Dave Patterson – located at 1200 William Street
        • Dennis Wnuk – located at 1200 William Street
        • Bill Moncrief – Real Estate Specialist

  • Timeframe:
      • 18 Months from start to finish
      • Construction
        • PO will solicit local companies
        • Will follow diversity standards – Allita will look into what these standards are
  • USPS is becoming more retail oriented
  • What is the current number of walk-in retail transactions
  • New PO may include more PO Boxes, passports, more service windows
  • Final decision: about 75 days from first public meeting
  • PO Advertisement:
      • Will solicit comments from public as to possible sites
      • Will include all the parameters for which the PO requires for a site

Related Post: 14209 Re-Location Archive

Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Pataki Press Release 8/18/05

August 18, 2005


Project Will Bring Affordable Housing, Retail Space to Downtown

Governor George E. Pataki today announced $11 million in State funding to help renovate the former Buffalo Electric Vehicle Company building in downtown Buffalo. The funds, which were awarded through the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), will be used to create a mixed-use building complete with commercial space, artist lofts, family and special needs housing.

"The Artspace project is a significant step in our continuing effort to redevelop downtown Buffalo," Governor Pataki said. "This project combines our commitment to affordable housing and economic development, creating new, high quality affordable housing opportunities, while transforming the historic Buffalo Electric Company building from a vacant structure to a vibrant new center. We will continue to partner with localities and the private sector to keep growing our economy and expand access to affordable housing for New York's working families."

U.S. Representative Thomas M. Reynolds said, "Artspace is an important project not only for the city of Buffalo, but our entire community. It means better housing, a stronger arts community, and greater economic development opportunities. I'm pleased to have been able to be a part of keeping this project moving forward, and salute Governor Pataki's continued commitment to our area and Mayor Masiello's vision."

Senator Dale M. Volker said, "Governor Pataki has continued to make long-term investments for the Buffalo region and this announcement furthers his commitment for the City of Buffalo to revitalize and diversify its housing market. With an economy that continues to grow and expand, comes the need for affordable housing and retail space. Today's announcement by Governor Pataki will allow this pivotal project to move forward so that both businesses and individuals can continue to live and work in the City of Buffalo."

Senator Byron Brown said, "The Artspace project will be an excellent shot in the arm for the rebirth of Main Street. With all of the development in the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Corridor, affordable housing will be a much needed addition. This project shows the commitment the Western New York Delegation and the Governor have made to revitalizing Downtown Buffalo."

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples said, "Buffalo is a city rich in architectural treasures. This project not only restores these historic structures, but provides much-needed affordable housing opportunities for our city residents."

Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello said, "This project ensures that the creative class will contribute to the revitalization of our City. Almost every block of Main Street now has significant new investment; this continues the momentum of the Medical Campus and downtown housing."

L. Kelley Lindquist, President, Artspace Projects, Inc. said, "We are delighted that the Buffalo project has received this award. This project has been blessed with great leadership from both the City of Buffalo and the State of New York. Thanks to that leadership, we can now proudly envision a permanent and affordable home for working artists and arts organizations on Main Street in Buffalo."

The project is the rehabilitation of a historic vacant commercial building and the new construction of six townhouse-style buildings on adjacent vacant land. Once completed, the project will consist of 60 residential rental units and retail space.

DHCR Commissioner Judith A. Calogero said, "Today's announcement reflects the Governor's dedication to affordable housing creation and to economic development in the region as well. The best gauge of that commitment is his record: since 1995, over $9 billion has been invested in affordable housing in the State of New York, using a combination of State appropriations and Federal resources. As a result, more than 170,000 affordable housing opportunities have been provided for low- and middle-income families."

Funding for the $15.5 million project will be provided by the New York State Housing Trust Fund Program, the federal Low Income Housing Credit Program, the New York State Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, the City of Buffalo HOME and CDBG Programs, historic tax credits and a Community Preservation Corporation loan.

The Low Income Housing Trust Fund program addresses the critical need for safe, affordable housing opportunities for seniors, families and individuals. The Housing Trust Fund provides State funding to help construct new housing, to rehabilitate vacant or under-utilized residential property and to convert vacant non-residential property to residential use.

The Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) was established to promote private sector investment in the development and retention of rental housing for low-income seniors, families and individuals. The program provides a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income tax liability for project owners in direct relation to the number of affordable housing units they produce.

The State Low Income Housing Credit program (SLIHC) is modeled after the federal program but instead provides a dollar-for-dollar reduction in State income tax liability for project owners and serves households with incomes up to 90% of the area median.

City gives up rights to former J.N. Adam center


News Staff Reporter

An eight-month battle over the future of a Perrysburg site that was once home to Buffalo's tuberculosis hospital took another turn Wednesday when the Common Council voted to give up the city's reversionary rights.

The Council's about-face paves the way for the state to sell the 650-acre site of the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center to a logging company that has pledged to "responsibly" manage the forest. The 7-1 vote is expected to end a legal fight launched by Trathen Land Co. of Livingston County, which accused the city of illegally blocking its plans to buy the land.

North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. was the only dissenting vote at Wednesday's special session, which was hastily called in the middle of the Council's August recess. Sale critics later scolded lawmakers for holding the meeting when Council President David A. Franczyk was out of town and unable to attend. Franczyk, a vocal opponent of the sale, sent a letter to peers urging them to continue to block the deal. "Not only is our city being cheated on the purchase price, a measly $333,900 when the parcel in question was assessed at $4 million two years ago, but the bidder has no solid, written or any plan . . . to preserve or reuse the buildings," Franczyk wrote.

Mayor Anthony M. Masiello praised the Council for reversing opposition to the deal, noting that the state will give the city 90 percent of the sale price.

Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faq

About Artspace...

As now planned, the project will consist of 55 live/work units in two buildings: the Sarabeth Building and a new structure behind it. There will be 30 live/work spaces in the Sarabeth Building and 25 in the new structure, ranging in size from 800-square-foot efficiencies to 1,700-square-foot three-bedroom units. In addition, 13,000 square feet of commercial space on the street level of the Sarabeth Building will provide offices and other space for arts organizations and arts-related businesses. The area between the two buildings will be used as a common space where residents can plant, work, and perform. Residents will have easy access to the Main Street Transit line, Buffalo’s only subway line, which runs directly in front of the building; the nearest station is one block away.
Artspace - 1219 Main Street artspacebuffalo00020zx
Artspace in November selected the Buffalo firm of Hamilton, Houston and Lownie (HHL) Architects in collaboration with Architects Alliance (aA) of Toronto. HHL has an outstanding reputation in the area of historic restoration, while aA specializes in new construction. We believe this will be an ideal team to help us design and build a facility that will work for your needs.

When you start thinking about the project imagine the area of Buffalo's east-side that it impacts....a few short blocks away near Ferry and Main we'll have permanent home of Performing Arts High School, re-locating very soon. Combined with the dynamic offerings of Canisius College just to the north and connected by our subway (who said it doesn't go anywhere) and just a few short blocks away, WNY's first black cultural organization, the African American Cultural Center and Paul Robeson Theatre. Of course just around the corner is the recently refurbished Apollo Theatre and the brand new Erie County Public Library - designed by Robert Trayham Coles.

Not bad for an emerging arts and educational neighborhood on the City's's the map.

For additional information...and pics you won't see anywhere else....
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Monthly Row House Up-Dates

Follow these monthly up-dates to see the long slow process of "demolition by neglect" of one of Buffalo's historic land-marks. Remember this building was designated a "local-landmark," and sits diagonally across the street from the former Buffalo Traditional High School - soon to be the future home of Performing Arts High School. This building has been owned by the City of Buffalo since July, 2003.

update...February 2007 - if you are seriously interested in pursuing this project let me know. A local architect has recently completed a feasibility study that I can make available for your project.
DSCN1859 Woodlawn Row Houses - October 2005
click to enlarge
This cool map will orient you to 147-153 Woodlawn Avenue and this little 25 block corner of Masten bounded by Main - Jefferson and East Ferry - East Utica.

More Wi-Fi

From the Buffalo News 7/29/05

Sleek wireless laptops shared picnic table space with hot dogs and Frisbees as business leaders and tech fans came together for Thursday afternoon's "Wi-Fi Day" in the Erie Basin Marina.

0729laptops 0729wifibox

While Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello spoke of the importance of expanding wireless Internet hot-spots across the city, Nicole Walter and her husband, Todd Walter, sat nearby testing the connection at the marina, a hot-spot added last summer.

"It's lightening fast," said Nicole Walter, a 30-year-old sales representative for CXtec in Williamsville.

The Walters were planning to leave soon to go shopping for a carpet, but changed their minds. They decided not to leave the cool lake breezes and harbor views, and instead started their shopping online.

Stories like that please Les Hoffman. As director of technology and training for the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, Hoffman started the process of getting Buffalo wired for wireless connections.

A few years ago, Hoffman started, a quasi-public entity that has set up eight locations where anyone with a wireless-enabled computer can get on the Internet for free. The organization is funded by private donors and utilizes the City of Buffalo's Internet service.

It was also the main sponsor of Thursday's event, which featured booths by various Internet service and equipment providers as well as contests for free equipment.

"We wanted to have a summer event where we can highlight wireless technology and future technology," Hoffman said.

Wi-Fi, short for Wireless Fidelity, is a transmission standard for wireless Internet connections from a transmitter, which allows wireless-enabled laptops within a certain radius to connect to the Internet. Starting on college campuses and in coffee shops, it has now spread to suburban restaurant districts, parks, homes and office buildings.

Hoffman described the city's wiring as an effort to improve the Buffalo's business environment and image in technology circles. If the city wants to lure technical talent through initiatives such as the Center for Excellence in Bioinfomatics, it must provide these types of amenities, Hoffman said.

Buffalo ranked 56th in Intel's latest "Most Unwired Cities Survey," ahead of Rochester and Syracuse but behind many tech centers like Austin, Texas, and Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Everything is becoming wireless," he said. "So we're just keeping Buffalo up to speed with the rest of the world."

A small crowd came out for Thursday's event, and Hoffman said his organization did not have any numbers on how many people are actually using the Wi-Fi sites.

"But we know there's a demand out there for it, so we're not overly concerned," Hoffman said.

He said part of that demand would come from the younger generation, which is getting used to such amenities on college campuses.

That's true for Ed Schmidt and Ben Sheron, two recent Canisius High School graduates who are heading to college in the fall. Schmidt, who will attend the University at Buffalo, said he and his friend came to Wi-Fi Day to learn more about what's going on in the wireless world in the Buffalo area.

Both talk expertly about things like wireless cards and Internet protocols and say they've been "techies" for awhile. Schmidt said it all started in 5th grade when he got the family's old computer.

"(My mom) was very surprised I set the whole thing up myself, and its pretty much been known since then that I'd do something with technology," Schmidt said.

He called the wiring of his home city "a very good thing" and said he would seriously considering coming down to the marina to enjoy the weather and surf the Web.

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There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask
of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.
- Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) from The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961.

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