Trico Plant #1


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Trico Plant #1. Photo by Bernice Radle, Buffalo News.


791 Washington Street Buffalo, NY 14203
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Ellicott Council District
SBL: 111.31-1-1.11
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May also be known as 817 Washington. Located at Goodell Street between Washington and Ellicott Streets

Next to: Ulrich's Tavern and Phoenix Brewery
Across from: M. Wile Building, Eastman Machine Co., Sidway Building, Courier Express Building, and 821 Main Street


Buffalo Brownfield Restoration Corporation, a subsidiary of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC)
BUDC is the City of Buffalo’s development agency
Search NYS Corporation Database for Buffalo Brownfield Restoration Corporation

Physical Description

600,000 sq.ft. six story, multi-building 'daylight' factory complex with reinforced concrete piers, large gridded windows, and red brick spandrels

Current Condition



  • 1917 - John Oishei founds the Trico Products Corporation, with offices in the Sidway building and manufacturing at 2665 Main.
  • 1920 - Operations move to 624 Ellicott, the former cold storage facility for the Christian Weyand Brewery. Constructed in 1890, this becomes known as Building 1 of the complex
  • 1924 - Building 2 constructed at 623–636 Ellicott
  • 1928 - Building 3 constructed at at 638–644 Ellicott
    • Over various years, all three structures received additions bringing them to 6 stories.
    • Three other structures—known as Buildings 4, 5, and 6—were demolished over the course of the complex’s early evolution.
  • 1936 - Building 7 constructed at 807–817 Washington Street
  • 1937 - Building 8 constructed at 787-805 Washington
  • 1946 - Building 10 at 670–672 Ellicott Street, built in 1923, was purchased
  • 1954 - Building 9 constructed at 648–668 Ellicott Street
history courtesy Buffalo Spree

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 1999 - Trico moved its manufacturing operations to Mexico.
  • 2000 - Erie, PA developer Stephen McGarvey purchased Trico and the M Wile And Company Factory Building. McGarvey was able to complete redevelopment work on the M. Wile complex.
  • 2000 - Trico added to the State Historic Registry
  • 2001 - Trico added to the National Historic Registry
  • 2001 - Roof membrane removed during renovations before McGarvey ran into funding issues.
  • 2005 - McGarvey dies at age 36.
  • 2006 - The development company owned by McGarvey's estate files for bankruptcy.
  • 2007 - The UB Foundation and BNMC purchase Trico at auction and transfer title to the BBRC, while retaining development rights.
  • March 2012 - Despite lacking ownership, BNMC executive director Matt Enstice offers to sell the Trico building for $1 to any developer with a feasible re-use plan. Rocco Termini accepts the offer, at which point it is rescinded.
  • March 8, 2012 - Preservation Board votes unanimously for local landmark designation.
  • April 24, 2012 - Public hearing is held in Council Chambers over landmark designation. Per the City’s Preservation Ordinance, the Legislation Committee has 30 days to act from the date of the public hearing, yet no action was taken for the rest of 2012.
  • Spring 2013 - Preservation Board again votes unanimously for local landmark designation. Hundreds of signatures from the surrounding community are submitted to the Council in support of landmark designation. The building meets 6 of the 9 criteria for designation when only 1 is required for inclusion. It has been over a decade since the building was added to the state and national historic registers. Yet the Council votes to a 4-4 tie with one absentee, causing the process to stall again.
  • August 2013 - Preservation Board member Terry Robinson filed an Article 78 proceeding against the Buffalo Common Council because of its failure to landmark the Trico Plant No. 1. The suit cites the large amount of public money used to buy Trico, as well as the arbitrary nature of the failure to landmark the property and undermine the Preservation Board and City Charter in the process.
    • “The April 30, 2013 determination totally undermined the credibility and authority of the Buffalo Preservation Board and its role as the public body tasked with the review, establishment, and monitoring of landmark sites in the City of Buffalo”
  • September 2013 - The Buffalo News reports that local developer Peter Krog may be requesting to be designated the preferred developer of the property. Krog may have plans to build an extended stay hotel at the location.
  • October 2013 - Per the Buffalo News, the Krog Corporation “envisions a capital investment of greater than $10 million to purchase, remediate, and redevelop the site for commercial hotel/office/retail and/or residential apartments/condominiums.”
  • February 2014 - $50 million renovation plan announced by Krog Corp
  • February 2015 - Krog Corp.’s adaptive reuse plans are on hold, pending an approval from the National Park Service, due to its use of historic tax credits. A response is expected this month.
  • April 2015 - Krog Corp. has received approval of both brownfield tax credits and historic tax credits, key financial incentives for the project.

Other Pertinent Facts

  • John Oishei invented the modern windshield wiper in Buffalo and built the Trico Corporation into the world's largest manufacturer of wipers.
  • 2001 - Trico Plant No. 1 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • The TriMainCenter is another Trico factory building, in its case a prime example of adaptive reuse of a large historic structure.


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Added 2013-01-02 • Last changed 2015-04-17