Mar 6, 2012

BNMC Refuses Free Help for an Adaptive Reuse of Trico #1

Preservation Buffalo-Niagara has released an official statement regarding the desire of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to demolish Trico Plant #1 (bing map). Although PBN and other groups have worked relentlessly with the BNMC, they have officially refused the free help to guide an adaptive reuse of the National Register listed building. The following is the official statement of Preservation Buffalo Niagara.


Preservation Buffalo Niagara is appreciative of the opportunity to have met with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) director regarding the National Register-listed Trico Plant #1 Building. Our part in the discussion involved the offer to assist in educating those involved as to the historic preservation opportunities regarding reuse of the building and the State and Federal regulatory processes involved with National Register Listed sites. Additionally we offered to assist in seeking funding to finance a historic preservation adaptive reuse study for the Trico Plant #1 Building.

The BNMC has declined these offers of assistance. We recognize and regret that, since the building is not protected by local landmark designation, the designated developer’s stated desire to demolish the building will likely occur without requesting permission from the city’s Preservation Board. We understand that an agreement for a phased demolition of the building has been executed and may soon be implemented. It is also our understanding that no plans have been made for the immediate reuse of the site. We are disappointed that this decision has been made without the availability of a reuse study determining the feasibility of a historic preservation rehab of the building. Preservation Buffalo Niagara feels strongly that expending the time and resources to determine ways to preserve historic buildings in our community should be a priority when deciding the future of such buildings. Furthermore, we believe that a larger community discussion regarding decisions of this nature is required given the designated developer’s standing in the community as well as the historic significance of the Trico Plant #1 Building.


We wish that we would have had the opportunity to participate earlier in the discussions so that we could have provided access to such information before the decision for demolition was made. We continue to offer our assistance to provide education to the BNMC and any other building owner regarding preservation and preservation related matters such as historic preservation reuse studies.

For additional photos of Trico #1 click here to see my Flickr page

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  1. What does "...the building is not protected by local landmark designation..." mean? Why hasn't such a designation occurred? What is the purpose of "Preservation Buffalo Niagara" if it cannot obtain such designations and protect these kinds of sites?

    Arthur Fay

    1. The building has not been designated as a local historic landmark. Local landmark designation offers the most protection when a historic building faces demolition, it has more teeth. However, the building is on the National Register, which does offer protection, but unfortunately does not seem to apply in this situation. Allow me to explain.

      If a building is on the national register it cannot be demolished with public, state, or federal monies. However, if demolition is completely privately funded they can do whatever they like. If I owned the Darwin Martin House (also a national register listed building) and decided to demolish using my own money, I could. It would be my right as a property owner. If I wanted to use grants or local government monies I would in most cases not be able to.

      Apparently the money slated for the demolition of Trico comes completely from private institutions, but until those institutions are listed and the money is followed to be sure, the building's future is in limbo. It all rides on the interventions of others at this point including the State Historic Preservation Office if they choose to be involved.

    2. Thanks for this information. Why hasn't PBN been able to obtain (in the past) a local historic landmark designation? Is that more difficult to obtain than getting National Register status? I'm just curious about this situation.

      It's difficult to imagine BNMC not being able to utilize this building by remodeling the insides rather than tear it down and build from scratch. In any event, I hope the building does remain.

      Art (in Houston, Texas, formerly from Snyder NY)

    3. In order to designate a building as a local landmark it must meet the proper criteria which Trico certainly does. However, when applying for local landmark designation, if the owner does not do it themselves, there is a $500 fee for filing it.

      I cannon speak for PBN and why they have not taken a stance on the issue or other issues in the past. However, there has been a change in the leadership as of March 1st with a qualified and well-read director put in place, Tom Yots. This stance that PBN has taken is pretty much the first public announcement of them taking a stance on any issue like this before. Only since Tom has been put in power has the organization actually begun to take the proper steps in the right direction. I'm sure we can expect more good things to come from them in the future with the recent leadership change.

  2. Uh -- lofts?? Why not?