BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Preservationists took to the steps of Buffalo City Hall, Thursday, demanding Common Council passed a moratorium for at least 60 days on tearing down the Great Northern Grain Elevator.
“Demolition moratoria has been passed by the council in recent years for other areas of the city, as this is a critically important structure it would be appropriate to take the same action here,” said Greg Delaney, clinical assistant professor at UB’s School of Architecture and Planning.
ADM, the company that owns the building says a wind storm last month, took out a big chunk of the building and that it’s a safety hazard. Preservationists say the moratorium is needed so that an independent review of the building can be done. Previously, a contractor hired by ADM reviewed the building.
“Don’t demolish until we have independent folks assessing the damage,” said Beth Tauke, associate professor at UB’s School of Architecture and Planning.
ADM has been granted a demolition permit from the City of Buffalo, but an appellate court judge granted the Campaign for Greater Buffalo a temporary restraining order, preventing demolition. Buffalo Common Council president Darius Pridgen says the ongoing court case prevents Common Council from acting.
“From what I’m being told from our legal counsel, the council does not have the authority to overturn a court’s decision and because it’s still being litigated the council will usually not get involved,” Pridgen said, “We don’t at this point, have legal authority according to our corporation counsel to be able to go above and beyond a judge’s wish, so at this point because it’s in the courts, it would be up to the courts to decide.”
Preservationists still believe the council can act and hope that an effort to issue a moratorium is made.
In order for Common Council to act on the moratorium, Pridgen says the court case would need to be tossed.
“If the court walked away from it if there was no court involvement I do think there would be support from the Common Council for either preservation or at least a pause in the demolition,” Pridgen said.
The Campaign for Greater buffalo is also seeking a preliminary injunction, to prevent demolition over the long term. The group tells News 4 that the preliminary injunction will be heard on Monday of next week.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.