Judge denies request for another delay to grain elevator demolition

Future of the Great Northern Grain Elevator

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Preservationists were denied their request for another delay of the wrecking ball Friday as they try to appeal the latest ruling regarding the fate of the Great Northern Grain Elevator on Ganson Street.

On Wednesday, State Supreme Court Justice Emilio Colaiacovo vacated a temporary restraining order that had prevented the building’s owner, ADM Milling, from exercising an emergency demolition order. The City of Buffalo Department of Permit and Inspections granted the demolition order after a significant chuck of the building’s brick facade collapsed during strong winds last month.

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo, through its attorney Richard Berger, has filed a notice of appeal with the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, and the earliest that appeal could be heard is on Monday. “Our proposal is to hopefully be there with all of our papers and ask the court to review this and allow the appeal to go forward, because without a stay, there won’t be anything to appeal,” said Berger.

The preservationist group had requested a stay of the demolition until an appeal can be heard but were denied by Judge Colaiacovo. “Stays are addressed to the sound discretion of the court and it’s pretty well established that the ‘Empower to Stay’ proceedings should be exercised sparingly and when there are no other remedies available,” said the Colaiacovo.

Just two days before, the same judge handed down a 20 page decision that that there was nothing irrational about the city’s decision to grant the demolition order and the Temporary restraining order was lifted.

Even though ADM Milling is now free to begin demolition, the owner’s attorney, Brian Melber, said in court on Friday that it is not likely any walls would come down before this coming Monday.

“There are some outbuildings and fences, there’s debris that needs to be cleaned out. ADM is going to go about this in the safest way possible, moving with all speed in the interest of safety, but this is gonna be a methodical demolition and that’s the kind of pace that it’s on,” said Melber.

ADM Milling said in a statement on Wednesday that it planned to begin demolition “without delay.”

Here is ADM’s full statement from Wednesday:

Our primary concern is always the safety of the public, our neighbors, and our employees. The court’s decision now allows us to actively address the significant safety concerns the structure poses on-site and at adjacent properties and roadways. Pursuant to the order, we will begin the required demolition activities without delay to address the immediate safety concerns.

In the meantime, we are identifying artifacts from the structure that can potentially be preserved safely. We are also reaching out to potential partners to discuss ways in which those items can be displayed and shared with the community to celebrate the legacy of the structure for years to come.

We are committed to completing the demolition in a prompt, responsible and safe manner and appreciate the support and understanding of the local community as we prioritize colleague and community safety in this difficult circumstance.

Jackie Anderson, ADM spokesperson

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