Preservation vs. Obstruction
Sam Savarino and Roger Trettel are very smart men. They have created very successful real estate companies and have taken the reigns in helping to develop what is left of the Cobblestone District.
One if their neighbors, Daryl Carr (owner of Cobblestone) has been trying to demolish a set of buildings on the corner of Illinois and South Park for some time. What will replace them is up for debate, but it seems like parking lot is where the spinning wheel of ‘progress’ may land.
That plan, plus the fact that these buildings date back to the 1800s sprung the preservation crowd into action. That means Tim Teilman basically told an engineer to disprove the claims that the buildings were unstable and then he sued (I am going to do a flow chart on this process one day). This battle went on and nothing really came of the demolition plan. Obstruction and preservation complete.
Well Carr will be back in Housing Court to try and gain approval to knock these buildings down again. For my money I hope he gets blocked. These are great buildings and shouldn’t need to be knocked down.
Enter Savarino and Trettel. They own a bunch of stuff in the district and have done a bang up job of rehabbing old buildings and making them awesome. They think the same thing should be done here. They even came up with a rendering that shows the potential of this set of buildings, go check out Buffalo Rising.
The Buffalo Rising article even notes that they had offered to buy the buildings. Why in the hell wouldn’t Carr sell and cut his losses? If the buildings can’t actually be saved then it is no longer his problem.
This is where my argument gets it’s teeth. Look at the two sides trying to save this building. You have the preservationists who are fighting for a ‘better Buffalo’ who have done nothing but keep some old ratty buildings standing in their current state. Then you have businessmen who see the potential in the buildings and formulated a plan (of sorts) to keep them from being demolished. If I described those two scenarios without putting names to the two parties or too much background, who would you classify as the preservationist and who would you classify as the obstructionist?
Here lies the problem with Buffalo. All of these guys get so geeked up about saving every damn nail and brick from before 1900 that they don’t think before suing someone. Savarino and Trettel actually evaluated the situation before jumping into the fray. Maybe a few more intelligent people working with Canalside would do that project some good too.