BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — This was the second building collapse in two years at the corner known as Buffalo’s gateway to downtown.
These were part of a cluster of old buildings owned by an out-of-town developer, until last year.
Buffalo Properties, Limited owned the buildings but the firm was controlled by a downstate investor.
The properties are clustered around the downtown gateway at Oak, Ellicott, and Genesee Streets. And this collapse came as no surprise to the building’s new owner, or the neighbors.
Just a few feet behind the vacant building on Oak Street was a another old building that was in use by a bakery and a tenant.
In August the chimney on 435 Ellicott Street collapsed causing irreparable damage to the roof, and two adjacent buildings.
At the time the property was owned by Buffalo Properties, Limited but neighbors said, and city records showed, the building had been neglected by the owner for years.
It had a record of building code violations, but inspectors said there was only so much they could do.
“This has happened before, it is going to happen again. And that is where it goes to die,” Legacy Development owner Frank Chinnici said.
Legacy Development bought the cluster of properties from the downstate owner, including the two that have collapsed, and pointed out the building on Oak Street was on hold until someone could get inside to inspect it, but they considered it too dangerous to enter.
Owners of the buildings adjacent to the doomed building on Ellicott Street have since made repairs, including Toutant, a restaurant next door.
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.