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Broadcasting House

  Lost      Demolition By Neglect  


http://preservationready.org/Buildings/23NorthStreet?action=download&upname=23NorthWEBR.jpg

http://preservationready.org/Buildings/23NorthStreet?action=download&upname=23North-2.jpg
http://preservationready.org/Buildings/23NorthStreet?action=download&upname=23North2014-2.jpg
http://preservationready.org/Buildings/23NorthStreet?action=download&upname=23NorthDemo.jpg
Photo credit: Marty Biniasz, WEBR Radio, Christine Leigh Slocum, Paul Melohusky

Location

23 North Street, Buffalo NY 14202
Between Main Street and Linwood Avenue, in the Allentown neighborhood.
Google Bird's Eye View
Ellicott Council District
SBL: 100.71-1-8.12
Erie County Property Info
County Tax Map (loads GIS page)
City of Buffalo Parcel Viewer

Next to: 11 North Street

Owner

23 North Street LLC. per propertyviewer
Ben Obletz, First Amherst
NYS Corporation and Business Entity Database.

Also owns Granite Works

Physical Description

11,000 sq. ft. Second Empire mansion with a mansard roof.

Current Condition

Demolished. Vacant lot.

History

Per Marty Biniasz, Forgotten Buffalo - "This is one of the most important sites in the history of Buffalo media.":

  • October 14, 1924 - The City of Buffalo’s second “licensed” radio station, WEBR, signed on the airwaves.
    • Owned by Herbert H. Howell’s Howell Electric Company, the station was located inside the company’s building at the corner of Niagara and Franklin Streets.
    • The station grew rapidly from the backroom of the Howell Building to the Gerrans Building, then the Hotel Worth, 50 W. Eagle, and 735 Main Street before taking over a former residential mansion at 23 North Street.
  • 1926 - The Howell Electric Company sold WEBR to the Buffalo Evening News.
  • 1935-1993 - Broadcasting House, as it was known, would be the station’s longtime home.
  • 1942 - The Courier Express purchased the station from the News.
  • 1975 - It was sold to Western New York Public Broadcasting and became one of America's first all news, public radio stations.
  • 1993 - Call letters were changed to WNED-AM.

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 2006 - Purchased by Ben Obletz of First Amherst for $155,000. Plans had called for "35 to 40 loft units". No renovation project starts.
  • July 8, 2014 - After years of delayed maintenance, a lightning strike causes a portion of the roof and west wall to collapse
  • July 9, 2014 - Demolition performed by Empire Dismantlement Corp. for First Amherst Corp.
    • Because the house is located in a historic district, the Preservation Board could have stopped any demolition except an emergency one
  • Statement from First Amherst, 7/10/2014: “Early Tuesday morning the West side of a moth-balled building we own at 23 North Street, in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood, was struck by lightning. Several neighbors informed us they heard a loud clap of thunder and saw a bright flash of lightning at around 3 a.m. The strike did major structural damage, causing a large section of the roof and third floor to collapse to the ground floor. Despite the heavy rain, our inspection found charred wood from the strike and a gaping hole in that side of the structure. We immediately conducted an extensive interior and exterior inspection, utilizing an engineer. On Wednesday, we undertook a limited demolition of the compromised walls as a safety precaution. After a full evaluation, we reached the unfortunate conclusion the building could not be saved. A complete demolition is now underway. First Amherst purchased the vacant mansion in 2006 with the intention of restoring it to its original beauty as a residential complex, with construction of new apartments, similar to the successful renovation we did at the nearby Granite Works. We believed 23 North Street had a bright future because of its historic presence and proximity to the emerging Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. As we waited for that housing market to develop, we refined our adaptive reuse plans. We also invested approximately $200,000 to shore up exterior walls, maintain the failing roof and maintain the structure’s security. In late May, we finalized concept drawings with our architect for a $6 million project to bring the original home back to life as luxury apartments, with additional new-build units, for a total of 25 residences. Demolition is not the outcome we envisioned. First Amherst has a reputation of salvaging neglected downtown Buffalo structure and building on their history.”
  • Keith Szczygiel, on Facebook 7/16/2014: "Actually Carmina Wood Morris were working on plans for it when this happened. The arch[itect] assigned to it was still working on plans after demo began because he didn't know about the lightning strike until a few days later since the demo happened so quick. Just thought I'd share some facts."

Other Pertinent Facts

  • Part of the Allentown Historic District
  • Given sequentially issued call letters, Howell adopted the slogan, “We Extend Buffalo’s Regards.”

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Added 2013-01-02 • Last changed 2015-07-27