BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen issued an ultimatum, Thursday, to the owner of a historic downtown building that was condemned and is now being demolished: fix up your other properties or sell them.
City officials ordered an emergency demolition of the property at 435 Ellicott Street, Wednesday after debris fell from the building onto the sidewalk, the street, and scaffolding that was set up for repairs to the building, earlier this year.
The building, which is at least 130 years old, building had already been condemned, following a partial roof collapse on August 21, but Wednesday’s incident was the last straw for city officials.
But a check of city records showed the building owner, Buffalo Properties, Limited, owns 4 other properties nearby—one on Ellicott Street and three others on North Oak and Genessee streets.
Pridgen is furious, “They’ve got properties that are boarded up, they have properties that are for sale, they have properties that are not well maintained.”
Buffalo Properties, Ltd., is controlled by Bruce Adler, a businessman from the New York City area, who has been cited numerous times to Buffalo Housing Court, for building code violations against those properties.
“If you buy not one building, several buildings, all in an area, that means you have money. If you have money to go out and to hire an attorney, you have money to fix your building, and if you don’t, sell it.”
Buffalo developer Rocco Termini said he has tried to buy the building on Ellicott Street from Adler because neglect of the building was causing damage to his properties nearby.
“The building that I own next door, Toutant, that was condemned by the city, and I saved it by spending some money and rebuilding it. The same thing could have happened to this building before it got to that point.”
But all the kitchen equipment that was part of Two Wheels Bakery and Café, on the ground floor of the doomed building, was left behind in August when the building was initially condemned.
Now Two Wheels Bakery owner Susan Adamucci has to accept that all of that equipment which she was planning to move to another location next week, is destined for the landfill.
“We were doing wonderful business had a great customer base, was important to the gluten-free community, and this literally happened within minutes, and shut our business down.”
After seeing that Bruce Adler’s Ellicott Street property has been cited for housing court on several occasions without much effect, Pridgen now believes it might be time for the Common Council to make code violations more costly for negligent landlords.