LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) - After years of delays and court battles, the former administration building of Bethlehem Steel is coming down.
Demolition was given the green light after a Supreme Court Justice refused to issue an order halting crews while preservationists filed an appeal. The back of the building has already been torn apart and on Friday, crews began tearing into the facade on building's front.
Mary Lou Haefner said, "I think they just want the war to be over. It's a real statement that they're no longer interested in a court case, after what they're doing today, it's not going to be worth saving."
Mary Lou and her son Thomas posted one last sign on the light pole, to send a message to Lackawanna's mayor.
"It's a beautiful building. I think they needed to save it, but it might be too late now," Thomas said.
The former administration building, built in 1901, has been vacant for 25 years and no investor ever brought forth the money needed to both pay for and rehabilitate the building. Preservationists had sought to save it from demolition, calling it an important historical and cultural landmark for Western New York.
Though demolition was delayed on Thursday, with the green light given, by Friday evening, the three rooftop peaks were crushed.
Preservationist Danielle Huber said, "This was a mockery to us...to take out those fundamental attributes of this building today."
"I think it 's a long part of Buffalo's past and history and it represents the greatness that the city once had," Mary Lou added.
About $2 million worth of scrap steel and copper from the building will be sold for salvage, and two of the ornate wreath style copper windows will be donated to the Lackawanna Steel Museum, but the rest will soon be history.
City attorney Norm LeBlanc said, "There shouldn't be any further attempts to try to save the building because that's the point, so it'll now go forward I'm sure for complete demolition which I imagine will be done relatively quickly."
LeBlanc says it will not take months or weeks but just days before the entire building is demolished.
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