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Buffalo Preservation board tables vote on demolition of Shoreline Apartments

October 22, 2017

The developer seeking to eradicate Paul Rudolph’s Shoreline Apartments in Buffalo is being challenged by the city’s Preservation Board to more adequately honor the site’s past. In July 2016, the board “denied without prejudice” Norstar Development’s initial application to demolish another section of Rudolph’s 1974 low-rise housing complex. (The north end was demolished in 2015). At that time, the developer was asked to come back with mitigation measures to offset the loss of the buildings, which the NY State Historic Preservation Office had determined were eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. At the most recent board meeting on September 21, Norstar presented its two mitigation proposals: an outdoor sculpture in a courtyard of the new complex using materials from the original buildings, and a three-sided kiosk to be placed along the street featuring the history of Niagara Street, Paul Rudolph, and the neighborhood as it is today. Although this was deemed an appropriate level of mitigation by NY SHPO, the Buffalo board felt differently. According to the proceedings, after “extensive dialogue on the significance of the Shoreline Apartments and architect Paul Rudolph,” the board asked Norstar “to augment and improve the proposed mitigation for the demolition.”

If demolition were to be approved, 16 Rudolph buildings would be demolished to make way for housing similar to what has been constructed in the northern section. This would leave only one section of Rudolph’s 9.5-acre complex remaining, at the corner of Carolina Street and 7th Street, and many of those buildings lost features associated with the original design when Norstar restored them after purchasing the property in 2005.

While on the topic of threatened Modern apartment complexes in Buffalo, there is a positive update for the Willert Park Apartments, an early Modern public housing complex in the city that we reported on in February. Demolition plans were temporarily halted in early June due to renewed objections by the Michigan Street Restoration Corporation and Preservation Buffalo Niagara.

“Demo sought for Shoreline Apartments,”, September 17, 2017

Details of the Norstar proposal can be viewed under the “journal” link HERE.