BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–It seems everyone traveling down Niagara Street in downtown Buffalo wants to know when those ugly dilapidated apartments in the shadow of City Hall are finally coming down.
Mayor Byron Brown cleared up any questions about the future of the old Shoreline Apartments when he announced Apollo Construction will resume the demolition that actually started 5 years ago, Thursday morning.
“We are very pleased that we are at the point where demolition finally begins,” said Brown at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.
The deconstruction has been tied up in court for nearly two years, as Shoreline’s owner, Norstar Development USA fought back preservationists who were trying to save the apartment complex that has been noted for its “Brutalism” architectural style.
The buildings are nearly 50 years old, and Norstar Senior Vice President Linda Goodman said tearing down the buildings that are nearly 50 years old was the best option.
“These structures never worked from the beginning. The construction was flawed, they were not good housing and everybody recognized it. It is time we moved on and build some housing in the downtown core.”
But the long wait has also created safety issues for the surrounding neighborhood, including health complaints tied to dust and debris kicked up during earlier demolition. There have been and fires, and people trespassing on the property seeking shelter from the cold.
Buffalo police, social workers, and crisis teams are now regularly inspecting the vacant buildings. Buffalo Police Deputy Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the sweeps are primarily to help folks who need it.
“The intended purpose is to get services, get help, get housing–anybody that is in there to get them services. We are not coming in here just to take anybody out or make arrests.))
Now that the $34 million housing development is back on track local leaders and businesses might be feeling some relief that the massive eyesore is finally coming down.
Niagara Street has been undergoing a $29 million makeover, from City Hall to Ontario Street and Brown welcomed the change for the better.
“I am glad that we are finally at the point where the demolition is going to occur, and these 166 brand new affordable units, safe units, quality units will be constructed for the residents.”
Brown said demolition should be finished by Memorial Day, and Shoreline’s name is likely to go out with the wreckage.
The first phase of the new development that was finished three years ago is called Niagara Square Apartments, and the other new buildings are expected to get a new name, too.