As judge decides fate of a Buffalo grain elevator, preservationists envision its future

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Now that two days of mediation talks have ended without any apparent agreement, the future of The Great Northern grain elevator is back in the hands of State Supreme Court Justice Emilio Colaiacovo. Preservationists are holding out hope that he might continue to delay demolition or that Mayor Brown himself could step in.

“The next step is we’re gonna wait patiently,” said Tim Tielman, executive director of Campaign for Greater Buffalo. “The mayor still could act, based on new information that he has, to rescind or pull back this order of condemnation.

Not only have developers Doug Jemal and Rocco Termini shown interest in saving the building, which was built in 1897 along the shore of the Buffalo River ship canal on Ganson Street. Tielman says others have also stepped in. “People are drawn to the water, they’re drawn to history.”

Tielman, a long-time preservationist, released renderings on Wednesday showing how outdoor dining could be set up along the ship canal. he also says there is an opportunity to unearth an old canal slip on the north side of the building right where the bricks fell during the wind storm on December 11.

“We’re positive that the stone canal, the stone dock there still exists and we only have to use a backhoe to scoop it up and then we have another waterway,” said Tielman.

Along the building’s ridgeline is an opportunity for a giant sign which reads, BUFFALO, according to Tielman. “We want it to be Buffalo’s equivalent of the Hollywood sign. We want it three stories high…Buffalo and you could see it out into the lake or you could see it from Cheektowaga, so that’s a vision we’d like to see become reality.”

Tielman does not expect a decision from Judge Colaiacovo before next week.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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