Trico Landmark on the Table Again
by Geoff Kelly
This week, Buffalo’s Preservation Board renewed its effort to designate the vacant Trico Plant #1 as a local landmark.
The Buffalo Niagara Medical Center, the iconic structure’s designated developer, would like to demolish the building, either entirely or in part. (The sprawling complex actually belongs to a city agency, the Buffalo Brownfield Restoration Corporation, which is a subsidiary of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation.) Preservationists believe the publicy owned building, which is already registered as a landmark with the state and federal governments, should be afforded the protections conveyed by local landmark status, too; they feel it ought to be reused—if not by BNMC then by a landmark-savvy developer such as Rocco Termini, who has offered to take on the project.
A year ago, the city’s Preservation Board unanimously recommended that the Common Council grant Trico Plant #1 local landmark status. BNMC strenuously objected; the Brown adminstration objected more quietly, in part throught the offices of Ellicott District Councilman Darius Pridgen, who chairs the Legislation Committee, to which the designation was sent. As it happened, an unusual alignment of interests resulted in the committee chair being rendered powerless to stall the item in committee: North’s Joe Golombek departed from the majority coalition to join Niagara’s David Rivera and Fillmore’s David Franczyk in supporting local landmark status, over the objections of the other two committee members, Pridgen and Smith. Council President Rich Fontana was absent. It looked as though the designation would be sent to the full Council for a vote.
Seeking to avoid a vote on Rivera’s motion to discharge the matter from the committee, Pridgen appealed to the leader of the drive for landmarking Trico, noted preservationist Tim Tielman, for a compromise: Would Tielman be content if the item were to stay in committee for just two more weeks, so Pridgen could study the issue further and bring the interested parties into discussion? Fearing that he would alienate Pridgen if he said no, Tielman agreed, saying he could live with the item coming before the whole Council for a vote in three weeks.
That was April 24, 2012. Nothing happened. The landmark designation languished in committee and finally was “received and filed”—and if that sounds to you like it was wadded up and thrown in a trash can, you’re not far wrong.
So now the Preservation Board is back, with a new recommendation that the structure be named a local landmark, which offers new tools to those seeking to prevent its demolition. This time, Tielman says, they will not be so easily deterred.blog comments powered by Disqus
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