Should Civil War-era building be torn down?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – City leaders are trying to decide whether an old brick building that dates back to the Civil War should be knocked down to make way for the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Corridor.

The building sits on a lot near the corner of Maple and High Streets. The Rev. Michael Chapman, from Buffalo’s St. John Baptist, wants to use that lot – which the city owns – as well as a couple of others next to it to build a 5,000 square foot produce market, café and pharmacy.

On Tuesday, preservationists asked the Common Council to designate the building as a historic landmark, so it cannot be torn down.

But Chapman says he’s been talking with city officials about this project for the last two years, and no one ever indicated to him the property was eligible for historic status.

Council President Darius Pridgen said, “What we have here, unfortunately, is a developer who has spent over $100,000 developing a plan, without site control. And then, in between time, there were some people from the neighborhood who wanted the standing building on the property to be preserved. It is one of the most historic buildings in the Fruit Belt. The question that is before the Common Council is if the procedure was followed to actually move this project forward.”

The Common Council tabled the request for a historic designation Tuesday, saying more time is needed to review the case.

Neighbors are split in their opinions about whether the old building should stand or be torn down.

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