Jun 9, 2014

Views of Buffalo is Now Using Instagram and the Twitter Machine

In an effort to reach an even wider audience, Views of Buffalo is now utilizing both Instagram and Twitter. Of course the blog will still remain the primary source, be sure to us both apps for additional photos around Buffalo, updates of the dollar house, links to current posts, and teasers to new posts. To follow on Twitter click here and for Instagram click here. I can promise everyone now there will be no crappy filters applied. Enjoy.

P.S. There will be one or two CNU 22 follow up posts coming soon

Views of Buffalo Ipernity      -     fixBuffalo     -     The Atlantic Cities     -     Twitter     -     Instagram
NTHP Blog     -     Congress for New Urbanism     -     Buffalo Historic Districts

Jun 6, 2014

Don't Miss the Hamlin Park Historic District Walking Tour Tomorrow for CNU NextGen

This Saturday June 7th I’ll be giving a walking tour of the Hamlin Park Historic District as a part of the Congress for New Urbanism Next Generation events, which is free and open to the public. The tour goes from 3pm to 5pm and begins at the Hotel Lafayette downtown. From there we will jump on the Metro Rail at 3:12pm and get off at the Humboldt station at the corner of Main and Humboldt Parkway around 3:25pm. If you can't make it downtown, feel free to hang around the station at the arrival time to join up.

Northland Avenue

Here’s the official description from the CNU NextGen page: The Hamlin Park Historic District: What’s Next? Hamlin Park is the East Side’s only historic district, an African American middle class enclave built around Frederick Law Olmsted’s Humboldt Parkway, the Elm tree-framed boulevard destroyed in the 1960s by the sunken pit of the Kensington Expressway. Learn what residents are doing today to reclaim their neighborhood against an onslaught of forces, including the highway scar, population flight, and the bulldozers on its periphery. Meet people who have purchased abandoned homes for a dollar and rehabbed them under a unique program offered by the City. And help answer the question, what’s next for the Kensington Expressway?


The first stop on the tour will be the Robert T. Coles home and studio on Humboldt Parkway. An urban activist and architect in the era of urban renewal, Robert fought heavily against the destruction of the parkway. He designed his own home and studio before the expressway was rammed through the neighborhood and has lived there with his wife since its completion in 1961. The Coles’ home is the only built work designed specifically in reaction to Buffalo’s greatest self-inflicted tragedy.


We’ll depart from the Coles' home and make our way to Hamlin Park’s oldest structure, the Old Stone Farmhouse at 60 Hedley Place (c.1840-1860). Stephanie Barber-Geter, the president of the community association will greet us at the farmhouse and discuss the ongoing efforts to ensure the beauty and stability of the neighborhood. She will also talk about her involvement with a project that seeks to remedy some of the damage the expressway caused and long path of rehabilitation for the farmhouse.


Finally we’ll make our way down to several homestead homes where people, including myself have purchased homes from the City of Buffalo for just a dollar. While it may sound like a bargain, these places require full rehabilitation, but with some vision, sweat equity, and proper spending they are being reborn rather than sent to the landfill. 

Views of Buffalo Ipernity      -     fixBuffalo     -     The Atlantic Cities     -     The Urbanophile
NTHP Blog     -     Congress for New Urbanism     -     Buffalo Historic Districts

Jun 4, 2014

Inside the Dollar House of the Day: 257 Florida Street

I recently had an opportunity to join a potential buyer on a tour of a homestead eligible home I've profiled which is available for just a dollar (more here). Unfortunately, he is not moving forward with the purchase, but now I have a lot more information about the state of the house and updated photos.


The house is still a solid rehab candidate, but it appears there are some structural issues that need to be addressed. Both the east and west walls towards the back quarter of the house appear to be sagging. Upon closer inspection the lack of gutters and a rotted soffit on the east side is directing rainwater between the exterior and interior walls, which is likely the culprit.

Determining a more in-depth cause for this problem was not possible due to the vinyl siding, but the east wall on the interior was noticeably wet. If we can assume a worst-case scenario, the affected portions of the wall likely need to be rebuilt. Not a small cost for sure, but not the end of the world for those who plan to save on costs elsewhere on the rehab with their own sweat equity. I’ve personally found now that I own a project house my friends have been falling over themselves to lend a hand. Beer and pizza certainly helps.


Another potential negative is the amount of stuff still left in the house, much of which is concentrated in the basement. Hosting a clean up party on a weekend with some friends, willing neighbors, and a dumpster or two should solve the problem of the previous tenant leftovers pretty quickly.

On the plus side the house is still all there and much of the original woodwork remains intact and unpainted. The leaded glass windows and French doors are long gone, but many of the original wood windows remain in the home and in good repairable shape.

To summarize the house is very much a project, but with such a meager cost of acquisition it allows for an opportunity for greater reinvestment. Don’t forget that half of this place is going to make you money as a rentable, large three-bedroom apartment and the added benefit of the historic tax credits. If you have an interest in the property, contact me via mike.j.puma@gmail.com. 

For an overview of the homestead program click here and for additional photos of this property, click here for my album on Ipernity.
Views of Buffalo Ipernity      -     fixBuffalo     -     The Atlantic Cities     -     The Urbanophile
NTHP Blog     -     Congress for New Urbanism     -     Buffalo Historic Districts