LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) - The wrecker's ball stood by Thursday but never made contact with the former Bethlehem Steel headquarters building in Lackawanna.
Construction crews made ready to start ripping into the facade, but held off for another day before bringing down the front of the building. The back is already skeletal.
"No one wins today," said Tim Tielman of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo.
Preservationists spent an hour trying to convince Supreme Court Justice Rose Sconiers that she should stop the demolition while they prepare an appeal. But Justice Sconiers upheld Judge Dillon's decision to remove the stay of demolition, giving the green light for crews to tear down the building.
Tielman said, "It's a huge disappointment, I think, for everyone. The City of Lackawanna does not come out looking good on this. The building owner does not come out looking good on this. And Western New York is going to be robbed a very important historical and architectural landmark."
But the Lackawanna city attorney sees things much differently.
"In my opinion, this is just beating a dead horse," Norm LeBlanc stated.
LeBlanc says the building has been vacant for 25 years and no investor has come forward with enough money to make it usable again.
LeBlanc said it won't be weeks or months before the building comes down - it will be days.
"If I had my wish, it would be hours," he said.
Preservationists were planning to file an appeal, but it wouldn't be heard for months. And with Justice Sconiers' refusal to stop the demolition pending the appeal, the former administration building will finally come down.
Dozens of construction workers were on hand Thursday, but left early without beginning demolition and it's unclear why. A city official says if the work doesn't begin immediately starting Friday, the owner of the building could be held in contempt.
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