BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – On Friday, Buffalo’s historic Great Northern Grain Elevator seemed to be doomed, but over the weekend, a state judge put the brakes on a demolition order.

Now, a well-known real estate developer wants to save the landmark – a second prominent developer could be stepping up, too.

After heavy winds caused a partial collapse of the grain elevator’s north wall, its owner, Archer Daniels Midland asked for an emergency demolition order, citing danger to public safety.

City officials agreed and granted the order last week.

“We’ve seen stress cracks on the Ganson Street side,” James Comerford, commissioner of permit and inspections, said. “There’s an active railway that goes right underneath there and if that wall comes down, people are in danger.”

But over the weekend, a preservationists group, the Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture and Culture sued and got a temporary restraining order to save the Buffalo landmark.

“By what method do we repair it, and address what even ADM admits is a series of building code violations that absolutely must be corrected,” said Tim Tielman of Campaign for Greater Buffalo.”

Attorneys in the case are meeting with a judge this week, to decide the next step in the preservationists’ lawsuit.

“So the city could say ‘well I am not going to hand you this piece of paper until everything is over’,” Tielman said. “But we simply don’t know, and the judge could simply say I am not going to extend the TRO and then all bets are off, and that is a very bad outcome.”

Now that the demolition is on hold, Tielman told us another well-known developer is interested in the grain elevator, Rocco Termini.

“We have spoken and he has offered to do an affidavit himself, and have one of his contractors, who has a lot of familiarity with fallen brick walls, also do an affidavit,” Tielman said.

We reached out to Archer Daniels Midland for comment and so far, without success.

Rocco Termini has not returned our calls either.


Attorneys for the preservationists, ADM, and the city meet in the morning.

A hearing on the merits of the lawsuit is set for Monday.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.