BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Common Council members will soon consider whether the former North Park library branch building at the corner of Delaware and Hertel should be granted local landmark status. But first, members of the public can share their thoughts in a public hearing Tuesday afternoon.
The old library building, which was built in the late 1920s, has been empty and for sale by the city for about a decade, ever since it was determined it would be too expensive to try to clean up the asbestos.
Even so, many people in the area still see the property as the gateway to the neighborhood. “It’s like a pinpoint in the community,” said Buffalo resident Marlo Perry.
The future of the building is uncertain, though. The city’s been looking for developers to buy it for years, but has had no takers. “We had an interested party about a year ago who wanted to demolish the building and put a mixed use retail component there, and it had some opposition from some individuals who wanted to see that building be there forever so they submitted a petition to landmark the property. Since then the developer has walked away,” explained Delaware District Common Council member Joel Feroleto.
Now, the Common Council is getting ready to consider again whether the library building should receive local landmark status, which would mean any changes to the building would have to be approved by the local preservation board.
Feroleto says he sees a lot of options for the property moving forward, but there are some challenges. “I’d like to see possibly like a cultural center, a brewery, maybe a coffee shop with a yoga studio, anything,” he said. “But the problem is we need to have someone come up with the money to buy it and do something and right now, the city’s not getting any interested buyers.”
Feroleto says he’s hopeful the public hearing will start a bigger conversation that will spur the start of a new project on the site. “We’re looking for people to buy it and do something with the property,” he said.
The public hearing in front of the Common Council Committee on Legislation is scheduled to begin in the Common Council chambers on the 13th floor of City Hall at 2 p.m. Tuesday.