Friday, June 13, 2008

Livery Stable Collapse

By the time you read this article, this building will probably be gone.

Buffalo Rising article
Buffalo Rising article 2
Buffalo News article

I could go into the finer points of the building: it is a rare, 1890s structure and one of only three liveries remaining, for example. It was built by Richard Waite, a man from Buffalo best known as the architect for Ontario's House of Parliament. I could also rant about the owner, Robert Freudenheim, who will most definitely skirt the $300,000 cost of demolition that the city will have to foot.

Note the rotted, broken roof and gutters, and how it nearly hangs over the next house

More importantly we should remember the impact of building neglect on communities. Freudenheim owned a building in Allentown up until January, when police found a homeless man had frozen to death inside. It was demolished soon after. The livery stable could have easily been converted into apartments, condos, or a small business. Instead of fixing the roof, Freudenheim tried flipping it for $400K with no repairs.

The owner bought this property almost twenty years ago and says he's done extensive repairs. So why has the building been exposed to the outdoors since I moved in a year ago?

Who wants to pay $400K for a structure missing parts of its roof and whose gutters leak onto the floors? One neighbor said that from their vantage point they could see two trees growing inside.

The back of the building is covered in vines, greening several backyards

To days ago the wall began to collapse, right where roof holes have been viewed from the street. The wooden supports inside rotted. Within hours community members organized a task force to A) save the building or B) string up the owner so this never happens again. Nearby houses have been evacuated. The neighborhood, consisting of one-way side streets and homes dating back to at least 1829, will suffer plummeting real estate values. Hopefully values will drop because of a vacant lot, not because a wall fell on someone's home. Freudenheim lives in a $615,000 home near the Albright-Knox, so why are we paying his bills?

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