RAIC 2012 The Green Renaissance Of A Rust Belt City

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Presentation to Royal Architectural Institute of Canada\'s 2012 Conference, St. John\'s, NL - June 14, 2012

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RAIC 2012 The Green Renaissance Of A Rust Belt City

  1. 1. - email a PDF to anyone who gives me their business card.A green renaissance in Buffalo? Yes! Buffalo is experiencing a comeback, and I think it has agreat story. 1
  2. 2. Map: NFLD to BuffaloTen years ago tomorrow (June 15), I arrived in Buffalo, New York to start a new job.Not a lot of people moved to Buffalo for work. The trend for about 30 years wasoutmigration, especially of the young and the well-educated - something that I could relateto, being from Newfoundland. 2
  3. 3. St. John’sI’ve watched the evolution of my home province from a distance for most of the past 20years, from the closure of the fishery in the early 1990’s to the booming economy that yousee here today. This is very different from the Newfoundland that I grew up in.Many of my friends and classmates left to find work, and we weren’t the first generation todo that. Buffalo and Newfoundland have that in common. 3
  4. 4. Blizzard of ‘77And we also have this in common – no, not the snow! Buffalo really doesn’t get that muchsnow, despite what you’ve heard.Aaron Renn describes it like this: “To choose to live in the Rust Belt is to commit to enduring acontinuous stream of bad press and mockery.”From legendary snowstorms to chicken wings, Buffalonians have a good sense of humour.Something else that I was familiar with, being from Newfoundland! 4
  5. 5. Rust Belt CityFor the past 10 years, this Rust Belt city that was once great, has struggled to redefine itself.Defined by the dominance of industry, the cities of the Rust Belt in the Midwestern andNortheastern U.S. have fallen on hard times over the past 4 decades.Businesses and jobs moved south to the Sunbelt or out of the country altogether. The loss ofindustry, outsourcing and globalization have all had devastating effects on small industrialcities like this. 5
  6. 6. Architectural legacyBut there is a resurgence happening in a number of Rust Belt cities - like Cleveland andPittsburgh.Before, they used to wait for a “magic bullet” solution that would solve all of their problems,which never came. Now they’re rebuilding around what they already have, on their ownterms, and from the ground up.And so is Buffalo. I love this city’s architectural legacy. I believe – as many do – that this richpast is the foundation for its future. 6
  7. 7. Cog in revivalA lot of positive things are happening there. Investment is coming back into the city. Peopleare buying houses in downtown neighbourhoods and fixing them up. Loft apartments inhistoric buildings fill up even before the renovations are completed.There is a sense of optimism that I didn’t see when I first moved there. 7
  8. 8. Not there yetBut - there is a lot of work to do, and old attitudes to overcome. City leadership isn’t thereyet – this quote is from a local mayor speaking about one of 3 remaining historic buildings inhis community south of Buffalo.This is the former headquarters of Bethlehem Steel, abandoned for over 30 years and nowthreatened with demolition. It’s been the site of protests over the past month by localpreservationists, who have managed to put a temporary stop to the demolition.This comment represents old attitudes about what progress really looks like. 8
  9. 9. MomentumSo – job losses, population losses – is Buffalo really experiencing a renaissance?I believe that it is.We now have a critical mass of projects and investment for the first time in decades. Despitethe statistics, people are moving back into the city and businesses are investing in buildingslike these. It’s been picking up steam over the past 5 years. 9
  10. 10. Greening the rust beltIs Buffalo’s resurgence green? In many ways – yes.In her book, Small, Gritty and Green, Catherine Tumber named Buffalo as one of two dozenRust Belt cities that she believes could be leaders in sustainable urban revitalization.She sees two primary areas where smaller industrial cities have an advantage:1. Their loss of population and shrinking of cities means they have a capacity for growthinward, rather than outward.2. Their manufacturing history gives them the potential to revitalize their economies withgreener, renewable energy and industry.Buffalo has those two covered. We’ve got empty spaces to fill, a lot of it from the heyday ofmanufacturing. 10
  11. 11. Commercial SlipThere is now a new focus on sustainable and local businesses, alternative transportation,community engagement, historic preservation, urban agriculture, and a new form-basedzoning code.Together they are creating what I see as a “green renaissance” – each of them feeding intothe momentum.Before I show you these projects and talk about some lessons learned, I want to give yousome history. To understand where Buffalo is today and why these things are significant, youneed to look back over one hundred years ago to see where it once was and how that allchanged. 11
  12. 12. Erie CanalThis was the key to Buffalo’s rise to prosperity in the latter half of the 19th century.The Erie Canal: opened in 1825, the first complete transportation system between New YorkCity and the Great Lakes. Buffalo was the western terminus of the Canal system.It also became an important rail hub as the railway system developed in the late 19th century.In the lower image, Buffalo is at the left and Albany is at the right, with the canal systemconnecting them across Upstate New York. 12
  13. 13. Grain Elevators - HistoricThe Erie Canal and the railway system made this a major trans-shipment hub on the GreatLakes. The grain elevator was invented here in 1843. At one point, there were over 40 ofthem along the waterfront.This is now called Elevator Alley – there are 14 remaining grain elevators. What used to beseen as an eyesore is becoming a symbol of Buffalo’s industrial heritage.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grain_elevator)Also check out this animation by Buffalo intern architect Seth Amman on the Cargill GrainElevator:http://vimeo.com/21324950 13
  14. 14. Main Street 1900 - Population growthIt became an important node for the westward movement of people and goods by water andby rail. The population grew exponentially. In 1825, when the Erie Canal opened, therewere 5,141 people.By 1900, this was the 8th largest city in the United States with over 352,000 people. It wasthe second biggest transportation center in the US after Chicago.The period between about 1890 and 1910 was a very important time in Buffalo’s history. 14
  15. 15. Pan Am & City BeautifulThis was also the era of the City Beautiful movement.Monumental architecture and grand city plans were exemplified by the Chicago World’s Fairof 1893, and by the Pan Am Exposition that Buffalo hosted in 1901. The Pan Am was ashowcase of City Beautiful design principles, as they had been defined by Daniel Burnham inChicago. 15
  16. 16. Great parksGrand parks and green space were an important part of the City Beautiful designphilosophy.Buffalo has inherited the Olmsted Parks System, a series of parks and landscapedboulevards designed by Frederick Law Olmsted starting in 1868. The parks were laid outover top of a city plan that was modeled on L’enfant’s 1791 plan for Washington.(http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/61.html).Today, the Olmsted Parks system is the most important greenway in the city and DelawarePark is its crown jewel. Both the park and this lake were part of the grounds of the 1901 PanAm.The building in the top photo is the only permanent structure form the Pan Am – this is now thehome of the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society. 16
  17. 17. Pan Am 1901Buffalo was an early adopter of electrical power, and the Pan Am site was lit up byelectricity. The City had the first electric street lights in the country, powered byhydroelectricity from Niagara Falls, in 1896.The Electric Tower was the focal point of the Pan Am, and the Temple of Music at night drewcrowds because of the lighting.It was because of this that Buffalo earned one of its nicknames, the City of Light.http://panam1901.org/ 17
  18. 18. BurnhamBesides influencing the Pan Am, Daniel Burnham also designed the largest office building ofits time in Buffalo, the Ellicott Square building, completed in 1896 and still in use today.Burnham’s philosophy, “Make no little plans …” inspired the City Beautiful movement, andBuffalo and its architects were very much influenced by it. 18
  19. 19. Great buildingsThis was a time when Buffalo began to attract some of the leading American architects of theera: H.H. Richardson, McKim Mead & White, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Theprolific local firm of Green & Wicks designed buildings that rivaled the work of their morefamous contemporaries.At the same time, the first American woman to become a professional architect, LouiseBlanchard Bethune, was running her own successful practice here.It was a remarkable time for architecture in this city. 19
  20. 20. Millionaires’ Row - rise of BuffaloThis was the impressive backdrop to Buffalo’s rise a century ago. There was a great deal ofwealth in the city, and it shows in the homes that many of these families built. DelawareAvenue was one of the preferred addresses. This is called “Millionaire’s Row”, now aNational Historic District. Most have now been converted to office and institutional uses.Much of this money was made in banking, transportation, and manufacturing. The majoremployer was the steel industry: it employed 10,000 people by 1910. 20
  21. 21. Rust BeltBethlehem Steel was the largest plant – it produced steel for the Golden Gate Bridge andthe Empire State Building.By the 1940s, more than 20,000 workers were on this 1300 acre industrial site at thesouthern edge of downtown. With its industry-based economy, Buffalo continued to prosperduring the decades after the Great Depression, from the 1930’s to the 1960’s.It became the largest inland port in the US. The city’s population reached 580,000, making itthe 15th largest in the country.Steel industry jobs were high-paying blue collar jobs, paying more than teachers or policeofficers. It was easy to get a job at the plant, and it wasn’t unusual for multiple generationsof the same family to work there.The peak of production was in 1969 with almost 7 million tons of steel coming out of Buffalo. 21
  22. 22. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. Decline But signs of decline had begun by the late 1950’s. The old Erie Canal was first replaced by the railway system, and later by the St. Lawrence Seaway. Ships that used to dock here now left Lake Erie before they reached the port of Buffalo. At the same time, the interstate highway system was reshaping the landscape across the country, opening up areas further out from the City core for suburban development. 22
  23. 23. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. Grain Elevators - Today Since the middle of the 19th century, Buffalo had been the grain storage capital of the world. Flour mills and the city’s iconic grain elevators began closing. Manufacturers started looking to the south for cheaper labour and lower taxes. The last steel was made here in 1982. And Buffalo was left with scenes like this: former sites of industry that today sit empty. 23
  24. 24. SprawlBetween 1950 and 2000, the greater Buffalo region tripled its footprint, but added verylittle population. The map on the right shows what 50 years of sprawl looks like: the redareas are where everybody went.Today, there are just over 261,000 residents within the city of Buffalo, while Erie County – thecity plus the suburbs to the north, east and south – has over 918,000 people. [2010 USCensus]The major employers today are state government, healthcare, banking, and education.Manufacturing still exists, employing about 10% of the population , but it’s no longer adriving force in the economy. [Buffalo Business First – June 8 Edition]http://joeplanner.blogspot.com/ 24
  25. 25. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. Neighbourhoods When I arrived in 2002, the seeds of Buffalo’s regeneration were being planted. A proposal for a new bridge between Fort Erie, Ontario and downtown Buffalo spawned a healthy debate about the value of design and the importance of preserving historic neighbourhoods. It got people talking about their city, and their future. It engaged a lot of young professionals and convinced them that they could make a difference in their city. A number of the grassroots efforts going on today started with this experience. The driving force behind everything that is happening in Buffalo is the belief that if you have strong neighbourhoods, people will come back. Almost everything starts at the neighbourhood level, or relies on support from a surrounding neighbourhood. http://elmwoodvillage.org/ 25
  26. 26. 5 themes…I want to talk about 5 areas of redevelopment and what makes them essential to sustainableurban revitalization, within the context of Buffalo:•historic preservation;•green urbanism;•waterfront development ;•new urban housing, and•renewable energy.There is so much going on in Buffalo right now that I’ve expanded these 5 themes to covermore of the game-changing projects, ideas and initiatives that are contributing to this greenrenaissance. 26
  27. 27. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 1. Shovel-ready to Preservation Ready One of the lingering problems in Rust Belt cities is the demolition of old buildings for new development that doesn’t happen, sometimes not for decades. This is what we call a “Shovel-Ready” site. This particular one has been ready for over 60 years. There is a group of preservationists in Buffalo who have turned this around and have started a local movement called “Preservation Ready” –to refocus development towards the reuse of buildings rather than their demolition. They have been protesting the demolition of the Bethlehem Steel building that I showed you earlier and the imminent demolition of a dozen historic homes in the Prospect Hill neighbourhood for the expansion of the Peace Bridge Duty Free and parking lot. 27
  28. 28. 1. Shovel-ready: Larkin Administration BuildingUntil 1950, this is what stood on that site: the Larkin Soap Company’s AdministrationBuilding by Frank Lloyd Wright. Built in 1906 and called the most advanced office buildingof its time.It was designed around a central atrium that brought natural light deep into the building.Managers were located at the bottom of the atrium with workers on the floors above.Wright designed an “air conditioning” system to provide a comfortable environment for theworkers. He also designed the metal office furniture and the lighting.In 1939, the building was renovated when the Larkin Soap Company’s Retail Store movedover from the Factory building.http://buffaloah.com/h/larkin/admin/index.html 28
  29. 29. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 1. Shovel-ready: Larkin Administration Building But the business was failing and the building was sold in 1943. The City foreclosed on it for back taxes two years later. It was vandalized and sat vacant until 1950 when the City demolished it. The building was still so solid that it took almost 6 months to tear it down. Only one brick fence pier remains on the site – it has been restored and maintained by a small group of volunteers. This building is still seen as one of the worst preservation losses in Buffalo’s history. 29
  30. 30. 1. Shovel-ready: Larkin Soap CompanyLarkin Soap Company had been a very successful business. It was founded by John D. Larkinin 1875 to sell soap and other household items, and later expanded into a very lucrative mailorder business.Larkin did $15 million dollars in sales in 1915. He had spent $4 million dollars on theAdministration building. That’s it in the lower right of this postcard.The two largest buildings – in the middle and left – are still standing. Ironically, after losingthe Admin building, this is now one of the most successful “Preservation Ready” projects thatBuffalo has ever had. 30
  31. 31. 1. Shovel-ready: LarkinvilleCollectively, the remaining buildings and the entire neighbourhood is called the Larkin Districtor “Larkinville”. The former 1912 factory is now the LCO Building –600,000 SF of Class Aoffice space that is 99% leased. Over $60 million went into improving the building, and nowmore than 1900 people work there.The major tenant is First Niagara Bank, which just bought significant holdings from HSBC,including the HSBC Arena – the home of the Buffalo Sabres.The redevelopment of this one building – which started 10 years ago this month - hasspawned other projects in the district, many of them by the same developer.http://www.buffalorising.com/2012/05/the-larkin-district-pioneering-perfection.html 31
  32. 32. 1. Shovel-ready: LarkinvilleThe old Larkin warehouse building is now called 701 Seneca Street, and was recentlyrefurbished. That’s the white building on the right (the biggest building in the middle of theold postcard). It has 125,000 SF per floor & 8 floors – for a total of 1.2 million SF. Itcurrently houses more than 65 tenants, from light manufacturing to consultants and artists.The 3 story brick building is the former U-Building, another factory that is now home to one ofFirst Niagara Bank’s divisions. A new public square has just finished and the former gasstation in the picture on the right is now the Filling Station Restaurant. 32
  33. 33. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 1. Shovel-ready: Larkinville The positive effects of the LCO redevelopment have rippled throughout this area. Almost every reusable historic building has been turned into office and residential space – or is in the process of being rehabbed. Housing is a key component of these projects – bringing people back into these neighbourhoods 24/7. Architects love this area – two firms have relocated to refurbished buildings on this block, including this one. Lesson learned from the Larkin District: one project can turn around an entire neighbourhood, even one as far gone as this was. This has repeated in other areas of the city. Success breeds success. 33
  34. 34. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 1. Shovel-ready: Hotel Lafayette Another great “Preservation Ready” success story is the Hotel Lafayette in downtown Buffalo. It was designed by Louise Blanchard Bethune, the first American woman to open her own architectural practice in 1881, and first to be admitted to the AIA in 1888. The Hotel Lafayette was intended to be open in time for the Pan Am Exposition in 1901, but construction was delayed due to funding problems. When it finally opened in 1904, it had 367 rooms, hot and cold water in all the bathrooms, and a phone in every room. It was expanded in the 1920s. http://thehotellafayette.com/history 34
  35. 35. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 1. Shovel-ready: Hotel Lafayette – Before & After The developer invested $42 million dollars into this project. He brought in highly specialized craftsmen from Russia & Europe to restore some of the finishes. It was a lot of private investment, but the project received a grant from the City and also benefitted from the New York State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits program. That has become an important tool in redeveloping historic buildings. This is on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. Photos: Jackie Albarella, Buffalo filmmaker who is producing a documentary and a book on the Lafayette – www.thehotellafayette.wordpress.com. jackie@albarellamedia.com These images are from the upcoming book entitled: Bethunes Opus: Restoring Louise Bethunes Hotel Lafayette 35
  36. 36. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 1. Shovel-ready: Hotel Lafayette – Before & After The Lafayette has set a very high standard for adaptive reuse in Buffalo: combining retail, food service, event spaces, hotel rooms and apartments. The level of quality in the restoration is impeccable. Just like in the Larkin District, housing is an important piece of the puzzle because Buffalo’s downtown core had lost so much of its residential population. 107 of the 115 apartments were rented before the building opened last month. Many of the new residents are empty nesters from the suburbs, expats who are returning to Buffalo, and young professionals who work in the city. 36
  37. 37. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 1. Shovel-ready: Hotel Lafayette – Before Over a two-year period, layers of old renovations were removed. Much of the original elegant detailing was restored, which luckily had simply been covered over and not destroyed. You can see where the dropped ceiling was when this was used as office space. This is the main ballroom which has been restored… 37
  38. 38. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 1. Shovel-ready: Hotel Lafayette – After …To this: 1500 people attended the grand opening 2 weeks ago, many of whom had worked on the building’s renovation. The first and second floors will be used for restaurants and special events with a focus on weddings. A caterer, a florist, and both men’s and women’s clothing boutiques are opening up. A dessert bar is in the former speakeasy in the basement. There are over 200 events booked in the Lafayette’s various event rooms for the rest of the 2012. 38
  39. 39. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 1. Shovel-ready: Hotel at the Lafayette The third floor has 34 boutique hotel rooms, renamed the Hotel at the Lafayette. Where great care was taken in restoring the first two floors to the original design, the hotel floor is more contemporary with hints of the building’s Pan Am roots. This project created 270 construction jobs and is expected to create up to 200 permanent jobs. http://thehotellafayette.com/ 39
  40. 40. 1. Shovel-ready: National TrustPreservation has been in the spotlight in Buffalo since last fall, when the City hosted the 65thannual conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Over 2500 delegates werehere, touring historic sites like this grain elevator.This was a big moment for Buffalo: it was a huge boost to the city’s confidence and to theefforts of the local preservation community. The positive after-effects continue, even now. 40
  41. 41. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 2. Urban Prairie to Urban Agriculture One of the things that Buffalo was not so proud to show off to the National Trust was this: acres of urban prairie, located predominantly on the City’s East Side. This is the City’s poorest area, with hundreds of abandoned homes and vacant lots. But 40 years ago, this was a thriving neighbourhood with thousands of residents and many successful businesses. These two images are from an article by Mark Byrnes called “Buffalo Then and Now” which was published on The Atlantic Cities website. Using an historic map and Google Maps, he compared parts of the city from 1902 (left) to 2011 (right). Nowhere is the difference more striking than in this neighbourhood. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2011/12/buffalo-then-and-now-1902- 2011/716/ 41
  42. 42. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 2. Urban Prairie In the midst of being praised for its preservation efforts last fall, the city of Buffalo was plowing ahead with the Mayor’s “5000 in 5” campaign: demolish 5000 vacant buildings in 5 years. The devastating impacts of this policy on the East Side are magnified by the complete lack of a plan to rebuild anything in its place. The City’s Office of Strategic Planning estimated that in 2011, Buffalo had about 16,000 vacant lots, with about 6,600 of them being city-owned. This article is from the front page of The Buffalo News a month ago. It raised a lot of questions about this policy: most importantly, do all of the houses on the City’s demo list really need to be demo’d? Many people think that a lot of them could be renovated and reused. 42
  43. 43. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 2. Urban Prairie Something needs to be done about this - these homes become magnets for crime and drugs. But large-scale demolition without a plan for putting anything back there only leaves these neighbourhoods in ruins. On one East Side street, 99 buildings have been demolished since 2000. On another street, it was 96; on another, 81: dozens of demolitions on dozens of streets. As the impact of the demolition program settles in, some blocks on the East Side are almost completely wiped out. This isn’t what “community renewal” should look like. 43
  44. 44. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 2. Urban Prairie: Wilson Street Urban Farm One solution – even if it’s a temporary one, as Catherine Tumber describes it in her book, Small, Gritty and Green, is urban farming. Urban farms are popping up in a lot of Rust Belt cities. Detroit has over 900 community gardens and small-scale farms. One family fought with the City of Buffalo to purchase a 2-acre parcel of vacant land next to their home on the East Side so they could develop a small farm. The City resisted, saying it was going to build townhouses there. The reality is - it will be years before there is enough demand to build new housing in this neighbourhood. They finally gave in after a lot of public pressure and leased the land to the family. The Wilson Street Urban Farm now provides fresh produce through a farm stand and a CSA program. They’ve been joined by at least 3 other farms in the area, and a rooftop community garden at the Broadway Market. A cooperative called Farmer Pirates has been formed to help other urban farmers get started and to pool resources. http://wilsonstreeturbanfarm.wordpress.com/ http://www.farmerpirates.com/ 44
  45. 45. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 2. Urban Prairie: MAP On the city’s West Side, urban agriculture started in 2003 with the Massachusetts Avenue Project, or MAP. It started with a few community gardens on vacant lots. Now, it’s a successful nonprofit that offers a youth skills training program and a fresh food source for poor families. MAP farms nearly an acre of vacant lots around the West Side. Some are joint efforts with People United for Sustainable Housing or PUSH Buffalo, another non-profit that is transforming the neighbourhood. MAP’s Growing Green program trains young people in farming, business and job skills, and has employed 400 kids since it started. It also runs a farm stand and a mobile market, and an aquaculture set-up that raises thousands of tilapia. Lesson Learned: community gardens and small-scale urban farming are good uses of vacant inner city properties, even if it’s a temporary use until the neighbourhood gains enough traction to reinvest in those properties. This is neighbourhood-level revitalization, not waiting for leadership to happen but people making it happen on their own streets, building by building and lot by lot. http://mass-ave.org/ 45
  46. 46. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 2. Urban Prairie: Land Banking Last month, New York State approved one of the first Land Banks for this region. It will operate as a nonprofit that can bid on properties at tax foreclosure auctions. The intention is to facilitate things like community gardens and farming as temporary uses. Will this really help? Other Rust Belt cities like Flint, Michigan think so. They created one in 2002: it gave the county government temporary ownership over abandoned properties. Land banking made it easier for the county to acquire ownership of these properties, and to reinvest in them or sell them to new owners. Land banks stabilize neighbourhoods in decline and direct funding towards maintenance, renovation or demolition, rather than letting properties crumble. It may also reduce the problem of absentee landlords who don’t maintain their properties and avoid taxes. 46
  47. 47. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 3. Lighter, quicker, cheaper The best solutions are not always the biggest ideas. This is a chronic problem for Rust Belt cities like Buffalo – always looking for that one big project that will fix everything. Rarely does it happen. I have always lived in waterfront cities, but when I moved here, I was struck by the lack of access to the water. For a city that has so much of it – Lake Erie, Buffalo River, and the Niagara River – there was very little to draw people to the water’s edge. 47
  48. 48. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 3. Lighter, quicker, cheaper: Canalside This is Canalside: the big idea for Buffalo’s waterfront - over $300 million dollars to be spent on about 20 acres of prime downtown waterfront land. For 9 years, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, the State Agency tasked with managing the project, courted a big box retailer – Bass Pro Shops – to build a flagship store here. Plenty of tax breaks and incentives were promised. This was going to be the main focal point of a mixed-use development that included a huge parking garage and rebuilding of a portion of the Erie Canal. Few people were happy with the idea of a big box store on the waterfront - or with the idea of paying a very successful mega-retailer a lot of money to set up shop here. But there was no public consultation, and the plans were full steam ahead - until Bass Pro finally said no-thank-you in 2010. It was the best thing that could have happened. 48
  49. 49. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 3. Lighter, quicker, cheaper: Canalside The Development Corporation had to go back to the drawing board, but this time they did it the right way. They held a series of public meetings. A lot of people came and talked about their vision for their waterfront. They hadn’t been asked before. The mantra became “lighter, quicker, cheaper”: don’t wait on the big ideas, the ones that take years to happen. Start with the small stuff that can be done in a single construction season and that will show people that something is actually happening. Lay the groundwork for the bigger pieces. The consultants listened, went away and re-designed parts of the project to better reflect what people were asking for. This is the modified Master Plan. No big boxes. No massive parking lots. More public open space. More space for smaller local businesses. A lot of small things rather than one big thing. And it’s working. 49
  50. 50. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 3. Lighter, quicker, cheaper: Canalside This is the most recent phase to be completed - it was in use last summer: small things, like signage and picnic tables. Enough to bring people down here, keep the momentum going, and get them excited about what’s still to come. You know what made the biggest difference? Millions of dollars in infrastructure and improvements, and the one thing that tipped the scale? 50
  51. 51. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 3. Lighter, quicker, cheaper: Canalside A few thousand dollars’ investment in Adirondack chairs. This is the biggest hit of the whole project so far. Lighter, quicker, cheaper. 51
  52. 52. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 3. Lighter, quicker, cheaper: Canalside Newfoundland’s Great Big Sea played here a few years ago to a sold out crowd – and everyone knew the words of their songs. That was kind of surreal! These are the biggest lessons of the Buffalo waterfront: Forget the magic bullet that so many Rust Belt cities wait for. It isn’t coming. Start with what you have. Build upon that. Listen to what people envision for their own city. Think big by thinking smaller. http://www.eriecanalharbor.com/ 52
  53. 53. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 4. Greening the Zoning Code Those lessons from the waterfront were heard loud and clear at City Hall. Two years ago, the City announced it would overhaul its 60 year old zoning code, and it was going to use an open, public process to do it. Hundreds of people have come to a series of public meetings held in each neighbourhood of the City. The latest round was held just last week: 10 community meetings – people fully engaged in creating a new zoning code. It’s because they understand what it will mean for their neighbourhoods, and they want to be part of it. http://www.buffalogreencode.com/ 53
  54. 54. 4. Greening the Zoning CodeWe like to think that we helped to plant the seeds for this. In 2006, the Urban DesignCommittee of the AIA Buffalo/WNY Chapter developed its contribution to the AIA’s 150thanniversary celebration.We decided to create a web-based educational tool for the community called “Form-BasedZoning: A Blueprint for Buffalo’s Future”. Members of our committee included 3 Cityplanners and the future Executive Director of the Planning Department.The website is unfortunately not up right now. But it provided an introduction to the conceptof form-based and smart codes, an explanation of how this could be applied to Buffalo, anda number of successful case studies.This was an important piece of advocacy by architects within our community. It helpedto get the conversation started.http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB083266 54
  55. 55. 4. Greening the Zoning CodeThe consultant team hired by the City includes urban planning firm Camiros from Chicago andGoody Clancy from Boston, who are working with a local firm and the City’s Office ofStrategic Planning.The new zoning code is based on the principles of smart growth and New Urbanism. Itfocuses on transit, walkable communities, environmental sustainability, and revitalizing innercity residential neighbourhoods. It will encourage a mix of uses that the old 1951 code wasnever intended to achieve. 55
  56. 56. 4. Greening the Zoning CodeThe project team is also incorporating principles to allow the development of communitygardens and urban farming, plus standards for greener buildings. This is a page from theTechnical Report which was released in April.The City passed a Complete Streets ordinance in 2008 which dovetails into the new Code.Complete Streets are designed for all users of the roadways – bikes, cars, pedestrians, andtransit riders. This is already being implemented in new roadwork projects.The Green Code is expected to be complete by the end of this year. The implementationphase will follow. It’s expected to be a major topic of discussion when the Congress for theNew Urbanism holds its annual conference in Buffalo in 2014. 56
  57. 57. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 5. Museum Pieces: Preserving Frank Lloyd Wright I think there are two primary approaches to historic preservation: restore a building to museum-quality and keep it pristine; or renovate it and give it a new life, sometimes with a completely different use. Most of the projects that are happening in Buffalo are examples of the latter, like the Hotel Lafayette and the Larkin District. But this project is definitely a museum piece. The Larkin Administration Building was just one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s projects in Buffalo. He also built 6 houses. All of them had connections to the Larkin Soap Company. This is one of his most substantial and best realized Prairie Houses: the estate of Larkin executive, Darwin D. Martin, who was one of Wright’s most loyal clients for over 30 years. He was instrumental in convincing his boss to hire Wright to design the Larkin Administration Building, instead of hiring Louis Sullivan. http://www.darwinmartinhouse.org/ 57
  58. 58. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 5. Museum Pieces: Martin House Complex Darwin Martin brought Wright to Buffalo in 1902 to look at a building lot in the Delaware Avenue area. Wright convinced him to buy this property in the city’s Parkside neighbourhood instead, bordering on Olmsted’s Delaware Park. The first structure to be built was a small house for Martin’s sister & her husband, the Barton House. It sits in the upper right of the site plan and is the photo on the bottom right. A pergola in the back connected the main house with a conservatory and a carriage house at the upper left. In 1909, a gardener’s cottage was built to the west of the carriage house, not shown on this drawing – that’s the photo on the upper right. 58
  59. 59. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 5. Museum Pieces: Martin House Complex The Martin house was finished in 1906. The family continued to live in the house until two years after Darwin Martin’s death in 1935. Mrs. Martin and her children then walked away from the house, unable to afford to keep it up. They went to live at Graycliff, the summer home on Lake Erie that Wright had designed for the family in 1927. The house sat empty until 1954 when it was purchased by an architect. It was subdivided into two apartments and an owners residence. Many of the original art glass windows had disappeared, along with most of the Wright-designed furniture. 59
  60. 60. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 5. Museum Pieces: Martin House Complex In 1962, the pergola, conservatory and carriage house were demolished and two apartment buildings were built on the property. Those buildings were still there when I first saw the house in 1998. You can see one of them in the background on the right. The University at Buffalo bought the main house in 1967 and used it as the President’s home and Alumni Association office. The Barton house was sold to private owners. 60
  61. 61. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 5. Museum Pieces: Martin House Complex The Martin House Restoration Corporation was formed in 1992 to acquire and restore the entire property. It first bought the Barton House. The main house’s restoration began in 1997. Interior Restoration is ongoing in the main house, but the pergola, conservatory and carriage house have all been reconstructed. The Barton House and the Gardener’s Cottage are both used for special events. This project is seen as the centerpiece of architectural tourism in the city, as one of Wright’s most significant Prairie houses. It was a popular host site for events at the National Trust conference last fall. 61
  62. 62. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 5. Museum Pieces: Visitor Center The estimated cost – including the construction of the new visitor center – is $50 million dollars. Toshiko Mori’s design was selected in an international design competition in 2002. Her concept was based in Wright’s Prairie House principles – the roof is actually an inverted Prairie House roof. The new building is adjacent to the main house, and opened in 2009. Photo: Greg Meadows http://www.howgregseesit.blogspot.com/ 62
  63. 63. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 5. Museum Pieces: Heath & Davidson Houses I see this house on the left from my front porch. It was built for William Heath who was a VP of the Larkin Company. Frank Lloyd Wright designed it in 1905. It’s on a narrow deep lot that was a challenge for Wright’s Prairie Style. The long side is parallel to the street and the front faces one of Frederick Law Olmsted’s parkways. This is very similar to the type of site that the Robie House was designed for. This house is privately owned. Another Larkin Company executive, Walter Davidson, hired Wright to design his home in the Parkside neighbourhood in 1908, not far from the Martin House. This house is also privately owned. 63
  64. 64. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 5. Museum Pieces: Unbuilt Wright Three of Frank Lloyd Wright’s unbuilt projects have been built here in the past 8 years – a boathouse on the Niagara River, a Gas Station recreated inside the Pierce Arrow Auto Museum, and this mausoleum that Wright designed in 1928 for Darwin Martin. It wasn’t built until 2004 by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and Forest Lawn Cemetery, where it’s located. Darwin Martin lost almost everything in the stock market crash of 1929. When he died in 1935, his entire estate was worth 37 cents, plus his homes in Buffalo and at Graycliff. When Frank Lloyd Wright heard about Martin’s death, he wrote to a colleague, "Today my best friend has died." Wright & Martin had a 30 year friendship. http://wrightsboathouse.org/ http://www.pierce-arrow.com/ http://www.buffaloah.com/a/forestL/martin/index.html http://www.blueskymausoleum.com/the-story/ 65
  65. 65. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 6. Adaptive Reuse: Richardson Olmsted Complex These magical museum-piece restoration projects are rare. It’s the adaptive reuse projects that happen more often. One of the largest such projects is the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, renamed the Richardson Olmsted Complex in honour of its two chief designers. This was the largest commission of Henry Hobson Richardson’s career. It was also a unique collaboration between the architect and landscape architect. Frederick Law Olmsted’s role in designing the grounds of the facility was equally important and complementary to the building design. Both reflected the state of psychiatric treatment at the time with an emphasis on plenty of natural light, fresh air and access to nature. This is a Kirkbride hospital – named for the doctor who developed and implemented his belief that architecture could create a better environment for the treatment of mental illness. http://www.richardson-olmsted.com/index.php 66
  66. 66. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 6. Adaptive Reuse: Richardson Olmsted Complex The site was originally over 200 acres of farmland on the northern edge of the city. Patients worked on the farm as part of their treatment. Today, the northern half of the original site is now the campus of Buffalo State College, which was started in 1927. In 1969, portions of the eastern wing were demolished to build a new psychiatric facility. Patients continued to live here into the 1970s, when they were moved to an expanded facility next door. This building was added to the National Register in 1973. 67
  67. 67. 6. Adaptive Reuse: Richardson Olmsted ComplexOffices remained in the building until the 1990s. Then the State Office of Mental Healthannounced plans to divest of some of its properties, including this one.Study after study looked at different reuse ideas - a school, gallery, offices, residential, evena seniors’ facility - but nothing was implemented.The buildings continued to deteriorate, until emergency stabilization work was carried out in2004 & 2005. But that was only after a group of preservationists brought a lawsuit againstNew York State over the lack of maintenance of an historic landmark. 68
  68. 68. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 6. Adaptive Reuse: Richardson Olmsted Complex Finally, after years of public pressure, former NY Governor George Pataki pledged $100 million towards the restoration. Some of that money was later diverted to other projects, including the Martin House Visitor Center. That left $76.5 million for Richardson. The Richardson Center Corporation (RCC) was created to oversee the project. It hired consulting firms to document the existing building and study reuse options while additional stabilization work continued. This is another example of a public process that is aiming to create a consensus among the many stakeholders for this project. Everyone recognizes that this site has great national importance while also being embedded in a neighbourhood. A Community Advisory Group was created to give feedback on the proposals. Public meetings have been held throughout the process. 69
  69. 69. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 6. Adaptive Reuse: Richardson Olmsted Complex The first site project from the Master Plan is underway this summer: the South Lawn, designed by Andropogon Associates to restore some of Olmsted’s original plan, much of which has either been lost or was never built. Parking lots are being relocated; pathways and a driveway are being rebuilt. The north side of the towers building will become the new main entrance. Over 50 proposals are currently being reviewed by the RCC Board for the first building renovation project involving the central towers building and two adjoining wings. This will create space for the new Buffalo Architecture Center, a boutique hotel, and event and conference spaces. The winning submission will be announced in the next 2 weeks. 70
  70. 70. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 6. Adaptive Reuse: Richardson Olmsted Complex Last fall, the building made its Public debut at the National Trust Conference – the first tours of the interior in 10 years. Public tours are sold out already for this summer. The immense size of the Richardson Complex raised this issue: When is a building too big to be saved and reused? That’s the excuse that often comes up when talking about some of Buffalo’s larger historic buildings. What are the options if it isn’t going to work financially? Sixty years ago, for the Larkin Administration Building, there were no questions asked – it was simply demolished. 71
  71. 71. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 7. Too big to save? One building that we came close to losing is the Hotel Statler. This building reminds me of the old Newfoundland Hotel that was torn down here in the 80’s – but a lot bigger. The Statler is located across from City Hall, and has great historical value. But many were calling for its demolition 2 years ago because it was just too big & expensive to do anything with. There is also asbestos abatement to be done, adding to the cost. This was Ellsworth Statler’s second Buffalo hotel and one of his grandest. In 1923, it cost $8 million dollars to build the 18 story, 1100-room hotel. The Statler was the height of luxury when it was completed. It became the Statler Hilton in the ‘50’s, and remained a hotel until 1982, then was converted to retail and offices. But the building continued to deteriorate without any significant investment. 72
  72. 72. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 7. Statler City The Statler was put up for auction in 2010, and bought by local restaurant and bar owner in March 2011. The approach to the renovation is the right one: the market just isn’t ready to absorb another 600,000 SF of space. Attention has been focused first on necessary repairs and stabilization, and on bringing back the lower floors to their original Art Deco-era glory. It has been a great success. The plan is to renovate the upper floors as demand increases, with either office, residential, or hotel space – or a combination of all 3. Each floor has about ¾ of an acre in space. The newly renamed Statler City is now a destination for weddings and special events. The opening reception of the National Trust Conference was held here last fall. http://www.statlercity.com/ 73
  73. 73. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 7. Statler City & Niagara Square This building almost became another shovel-ready site. If the current owner hadn’t stepped in, there were no other viable offers and the building would have been lost. Now it sits on the City’s most prominent square, with the art deco City Hall and a new federal courthouse by Kohn Pedersen Fox as its neighbours. http://www.buffaloah.com/a/niagSq/65/city.html http://www.kpf.com/project.asp?ID=12 74
  74. 74. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 7. Central Terminal This is another building that came close to being shovel-ready: Buffalo’s Central Terminal. This Art Deco railway station opened in June 1929 - just before the Stock Market crash. Cost: $14 million dollars. Buffalo was an important stop on the New York Central Railroad up until the mid-1950s, when people began travelling by car or plane and railways were losing money. Before the company went bankrupt in 1970, four of the accessory buildings were demolished. Amtrak used the Terminal until 1979, when it built a small modern station a few miles away. Central Terminal was sold to a private owner for $75,000. The passenger concourse that connected the terminal to the platforms was demolished in 1981 to allow taller freight cars to use the route. You can see that in the lower right of this photo. http://buffalocentralterminal.org/ 75
  75. 75. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 7. Central Terminal When the owner defaulted on taxes, the city put it up for auction. At this point, the historic Art Deco interior was fully intact. A new owner paid $100,000 for it, and spent the next 12 years stripping anything of value from the interior: copper piping, art deco light fixtures, marble slabs, and the concourse clock. The building deteriorated from water damage through all of the broken windows. The City foreclosed on it for back taxes, and the newly-formed Central Terminal Restoration Corporation acquired it for $1 in 1997. 76
  76. 76. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 7. Central Terminal For the next 6 years, the CTRC and its army of volunteers cleaned out more than 350 tons of debris, relit the tower clocks, removed asbestos, repaired the roof, and installed temporary weather tight enclosures in the window openings to prevent further damage. The original concourse clock was found on eBay and returned to Buffalo. CTRC started giving tours in 2003, and holding events in the concourse to raise revenue for more restoration and repair work. It has even appeared on the SyFy TV Series Ghosthunters a couple of times because of paranormal sightings within the building. http://www.wgrz.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=93182 77
  77. 77. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 7. Central Terminal This building has 523,000 SF and the site is 18 acres. It sits in Buffalo’s already challenged East Side neighbourhood. What do you do with something this big? The CTRC released a Master Plan in 2011 that sets out manageable projects with achievable goals, with the ultimate mission of restoration and rejuvenation of the entire complex. Some of the projects will include a green business incubator in the office wing, residential in the tower, and the continuing use of the Concourse as a public events space. The idea of reusing it as a railway station may happen if New York develops a high-speed rail system. One of the first projects to be completed is the Urban Habitat Classroom, a site design project on the front of the property to teach schoolkids about sustainability and regenerative design. Just like the Richardson Complex, Central Terminal is an intrinsic part of its neighbourhood. Reconnecting the revitalized complex to its surroundings is key in all of the work that the CTRC is doing. 78
  78. 78. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 7. Save Trico One building whose future is still being debated is the old Trico Plant #1 in the middle of downtown Buffalo. Trico manufactured windshield wiper blades. Empty for decades, the current owner – the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus – has no use for it. It wants to demolish and redevelop the site for expansion of medical research & business incubator facilities. The building has 700,000 square feet of space. This is on the National Register and a heated preservation debate has been stirred up over it. Demolition was scheduled to start in April, but the discussion is ongoing as to what exactly will happen with it. So we don’t know yet if this one will be shovel-ready, or preservation- ready. http://savetrico.wordpress.com/ 79
  79. 79. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 7. Gates Circle Another building in the same position is the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital - located on Delaware Avenue overlooking one of Olmsted’s parkways. The Hospital has relocated to a new building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. This collection of 11 interconnected buildings was built from 1911 to the 1970s. It has 882,000 SF on 11 acres of prime real estate. The Urban Design Project from the University at Buffalo is assisting the owner, Kaleida Health with creating a reuse plan. In April, an International Design & Development Competition was launched. I serve on the Project Advisory Committee and we drafted a community values statement for the future developer so that the needs of the surrounding neighbourhood wouldn’t be forgotten. We will be holding a public meeting on June 20th to show the 2 proposals that have been received. Post-presentation note: the two teams presented their ideas this week, and the proposals can be found here – http://www.kaleidahealth.org/uli/ 80
  80. 80. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 8. Meds & Eds – BNMC & The University The last two buildings that I showed you have been affected by the rapid growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. This is the city’s medical corridor – a major employer with a concentration of healthcare facilities in the center of the city. This is what Catherine Tumber calls “Meds and Eds” – medical and higher education facilities that many Rust Belt cities are developing as an economic revitalization strategy. She believes that institutions can play an important role. That is certainly the case in Buffalo, where we have 7 colleges and universities within the city limits. Here on the Medical Campus, “Meds & Eds” are joining forces. University at Buffalo medical researchers and students already utilize the facilities, but that is going to step up in the coming 5 years when the University moves its Medical school here. An international design competition just selected HOK to design the new $375 million dollar school. UB has just finished a $23 Million dollar educational building on the southern edge of the campus, and built the Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences in 2006. Next to the Trico building, a portion of that former factory has been transformed into a LEED-certified biomedical business incubator. 81
  81. 81. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 8. Meds & Eds – future growth This is what the Medical Campus looks like now: a 5-block area that is halfway through its 20-year master plan. This has become one of the biggest economic drivers for this city and for the entire region. Roswell Park Cancer Institute is here, one of the most important cancer treatment and research facilities in the Northeastern U.S. A new 300-bed nursing home was completed last year – the first urban seniors’ facility to be built here in several decades. An $80 million dollar medical office building is starting construction, and the Buffalo Women and Children’s Hospital is expected to relocate to the Campus in 2017. There are about 8500 people working on the Medical Campus right now. That will grow to about 12,000 when these new buildings are completed. http://www.bnmc.org/ 82
  82. 82. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 8. Meds & Eds – GVI & Hauptmann Woodward The Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute – started by a Nobel Prize winning scientist – and the new $291 million dollar Gates Vascular Institute – which replaced the old Gates Hospital – were both designed by Cannon Design. The Gates building epitomizes the collaboration between research and treatment, with both patient floors and medical research labs housed in the same building. This is where the idea of “Meds & Eds” really comes together. The Medical Campus sits between two of Buffalo’s residential neighbourhoods, one a strong, healthy urban neighbourhood and the other on the edge of the struggling East Side. A particular challenge for the Campus will be to manage all of this growth while not having adverse affects on its neighbours. 83
  83. 83. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 9. Rust belt to green belt - Solar I mentioned earlier one of Catherine Tumber’s main points from her book Small, Gritty & Green, about the potential for smaller industrial cities to reactivate their manufacturing sites for greener technologies and renewable energy. That will depend on how energy production evolves – if the focus shifts from large-capacity plants to smaller regional ones, then Rust Belt cities could supplement their own energy needs with their own production. The Buffalo-Niagara region would be well-positioned to take advantage of this, and we’re just beginning to tap into it. Two solar manufacturers have opened up in Niagara Falls, and they receive low-cost power from the New York Power Authority to help promote the state’s new $30 million solar-energy initiative. New York State has been promoting renewables for years to both residential and commercial customers. So there is potential to attract more manufacturers and further develop the local solar industry. 84
  84. 84. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 9. Rust belt to green belt - Solar The University at Buffalo opened its Solar Strand project in April: this project is raising the profile of solar power in the region. This is a 750 kilowatt solar installation that achieves two goals: one, it helps the university towards its goal of carbon neutrality, which it established after signing the University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. And two: it creates a public space and gateway to the North Campus – combining landscaping and energy production in an outdoor space with walkways and gathering areas, and outdoor teaching spaces. It was designed by artist and landscape architect Walter Hood, who won the design competition. There is a live dashboard on the University’s website where you can see how much power is being generated. The 3200 panels are generating enough energy to power 700 student apartments. The landscape design is being implemented this summer. http://www.buffalo.edu/sustainability/solar-strand/solar-dashboard.html 85
  85. 85. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. 9. Rust belt to green belt - Wind Wind power has tremendous potential on the shore of Lake Erie. This is Steel Winds – 14 200’-tall wind turbines generating renewable energy on a brownfield site - the former Bethlehem Steel plant. It was built in two phases – the first 8 turbines were operational in June 2008, and the last 6 came online in January of this year. Each one is 2.5 MW. The entire installation has the capacity to generate enough power for 9,000 homes. What we need now is to attract manufacturers from the wind industry – wind turbines have thousands of component parts, and there are many different types of manufacturing businesses that could develop. http://www.firstwind.com/projects/steel-winds 86
  86. 86. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. Challenges for Downtown Buffalo While Buffalo is having success in many areas, there are still a lot of challenges. A major of medical device manufacturer – a locally-founded company with over 50 years of history there - just announced that it will leave Buffalo for lower corporate taxes in Texas. The loss of the Canadian Consulate this summer will be a blow to the local business community. It fostered cross-border business relationships between Southern Ontario and Western New York. That will leave behind 2 floors of vacant space in the 38-story HSBC Tower. This is a prominent piece of Buffalo’s skyline by Skidmore Owings and Merrill that is losing several more big tenants in the next 18 months, quite likely including HSBC Bank itself which leases 77% of the building’s 851,000 SF. That is a lot of Class A office space to fill. There is a good possibility that this building will have to reinvent itself in the same way that the old Dulski Federal Building did a few years ago. Its concrete facade was reskinned and it was renamed the Avant. $85 million dollars later - now it has an Embassy Suites hotel, 3 floors of law offices, and 30 high-end condos – all but 4 have been sold. http://www.avantbuffalo.com/ 87
  87. 87. The image cannot be display ed. Your computer may not hav e enough memory to open the image, or the image may hav e been corrupted. Restart y our computer, and then open the file again. If the red x still appears, y ou may hav e to delete the image and then insert it again. CONCLUSION When you connect the dots and see how one project ties into everything else around it, the ripple effect has tremendous potential. More people living downtown means more businesses will follow. One great restoration or adaptive reuse project inspires another, changing “shovel-ready” to “preservation-ready”. Updating the zoning code will make it easier to do better and greener projects. Success breeds success. It also breeds confidence, and that is something that this City now has. Think big by thinking small: a lot of well-thought out small ideas can have a bigger impact than one big, really expensive idea. Remember the Adirondack chairs: Lighter, quicker, cheaper. Reframe the problems by finding one small thing that will inspire change – if you haven’t heard of BetterBlock.org, look it up. That’s the kind of thinking that we need. Projects get done – or not done – because of the people. This seems to galvanize grassroots efforts: people get behind those smaller, neighbourhood-focused projects that matter, not the big magic bullet ideas that so many Rust Belt cities hang their hopes on. We have a lot of work to do, but the momentum is there. I’d like to end with this video created by the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors’ Bureau last year, to promote the city for the National Trust Conference. A lot of the people featured in the video are “come-from-aways”, like me, and they have a great passion for the history and the future of this place. This really sums up the resilient spirit of Buffalo. Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT11IdWPvfc&feature=colike 88

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