Judge: 2 weeks to sell building or face wrecking ball

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – An iconic building that’s been falling apart for years may soon knocked down if the owners can’t meet a two week deadline set by a judge to either sell it to someone who will fix it up or pick up the tab for demolition.

Judge Patrick Carney set that deadline in housing court Thursday morning for the owners of the property at 65 Grant Street. The cost of demolition, which the property owners would be responsible for if they do not sell the property in time, has been estimated at $150,000.

The property has been falling apart for years, but Judge Carney said Thursday that this option only became available recently when the building was condemned. Judge Carney toured the building recently after it was damaged by a fire. He says the fire damage was actually minimal and the second floor and roof are in good shape, but the first floor needs substantial work, and the back wall is falling apart – to the point that the sidewalk on Grant Street has been closed for a while for public safety.

Now the fire commissioner and city inspector have recommended demolition, and the judge has agreed unless a buyer has contracts signed and money down by the July 9 deadline set in housing court this week.

News 4 was told there are at least four interested buyers who have already stepped forward, so people in that neighborhood have high hopes for a better future with the property no longer in the current owners’ hands.

“What they’ve done to the neighborhood shows a stunning lack of compassion for everybody who resides there. They need to get rid of it, at this point they need to not profit from maintaining it for so long as a hazard and they really just need to let it go,” said one woman who lives near the Grant Street building, Stephanie Adams. “Someone is going to buy it and love it and it’s going to be a beautiful part of the economic revitalization that Grant-Ferry is seeing.”

“There’s a lot of new energy and excitement on Grant Street and we want to continue the momentum. We’d like to see a rehab done, but certainly it has to work for everybody,” said Buffalo Common Council Member David Rivera.

Judge Carney said that the priority for any work is clear. Anyone who buys the building must do whatever they need to do to “get that sidewalk open yesterday”, because forcing people to walk in the street is a safety issue.

One potential buyer estimated the cost of renovating the building at $600,000 dollars.

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