An effort by city lawmakers to at least temporarily hold off on demolition of the Trico complex, a nationally designated historic structure, isn’t enough, preservationists said Wednesday.
The Common Council unanimously agreed this week to impose a moratorium on issuing demolition permits for the former windshield wiper factory until Jan. 1. Two weeks ago, the Council rejected an effort to designate the complex as a local landmark.
“It doesn’t mean much,” said city Preservation Board member Tim Tielman. “It is window dressing. It would have been much better to get it designated a local landmark.”
The Preservation Board had appealed to the Council to designate the Trico complex a local landmark, which would have given the board greater oversight over plans to demolish or re-use the building.
The measure, the second of its kind to come before the Council, failed in a 4-4 vote.
Though Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen voted against the designation, he sponsored the demolition moratorium and said that if plans to redevelop the complex get under way before the end of the year, he would be open to extending it.
“If there is a developer that can be found for Trico, that can do what some folks claim can be done, there is time to do it,” Pridgen said.
Principals with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, which has development rights to the sprawling complex at Washington and Goodell streets, were opposed to the landmark status for Trico, but said they would work with Preservation Buffalo Niagara over the next six months to find a reuse for the building.
“Hopefully we can build upon the leads they might have had before and help make that happen,” Matthew K. Enstice, president and CEO of the Medical Campus, said Wednesday.
The moratorium lengthens that period to seven months and formalizes it beyond a handshake agreement, Pridgen said.
The Medical Campus has tried to find redevelopment uses for the 591,591-square-foot structure but is open to other plans, principals have said.
If no alternative uses can be found for the site, the Medical Campus would like to demolish it, according to William L. Joyce, chairman of the Medical Campus, who spoke during a public hearing last month.
Preservation Buffalo Niagara wasn’t thrilled with the moratorium, and officials of the organization don’t believe that it will give them enough time to come up with a plan for reuse of the building.
“We think it falls short of what should have been done with the two local landmark applications,” said Jason Wilson, director of operations.
However, the preservation group recently obtained an approved historic tax credit renovation plan from 2004, filed with the state Historic Preservation Office by the late developer Stephen B. McGarvey, who had planned a mixed-use development there. Wilson hopes the plan will be helpful to other possible developers of the building.
Also this week, the Council:
• Approved a measure that would allow the New York Power Authority to install solar panels on the roof of the Broadway Market.
Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk praised the measure and said he was encouraged by the Brown administration’s commitment to the market.
• Called on the city’s Law Department to see whether Council approval can be required for changes to Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority bus routes that affect parking. When stops are changed, residents can lose on-street parking spaces in front of their homes.
The NFTA follows all laws and notifies its customers when routes change, according to a statement from the authority Wednesday.
• Accepted a donation of public art from AT&T Management Services. Artist Judith Shea’s 1987 bronze statue “Eden” will be placed on land between Potomac and Elmwood avenues and Bidwell Parkway, according to Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto.
• Approved an application for a new food truck, “Thai Me Up.”