It's hard to travel anywhere on Buffalo's East Side and not see it - the giant Art Deco tower of the Central Terminal. Opened just months before the Great Depression began, it handled most of Buffalo's passenger train service at a time when trains were the way to travel long distances. Virtually every soldier from WNY in World War II took a train leaving from the Terminal to basic training, or on leave. It's still a beautiful building. But is it a building we can afford to save?

An article at BuffaloNews.com tells the story. $800,000 to repair the vaulted roof over the Main Concourse. $3,000,000 to do all the needed roof and masonry repairs. $50 million to $100 million to renovate and restore the entire complex.

It's a beautiful building. While it needs a great deal of work, most of the structure is solid. And Buffalo has a great track record for re-purposing older buildings [the former Main Post Office, converted into ECC City; the old Genesee office building turned into the Hyatt Regency hotel; and the one-time Dulski Federal building, now the state-of-the-art Avant tower, just to name three].

Then again, the Central Terminal is located in one of Buffalo's poorest neighborhoods. Would the millions of dollars needed to renovate it be better spent on other needs in the area? One major charitable organization thinks so; when asked to help pay for the Concourse roof, they said the money was more needed on other projects.And if the decay at the site was stopped, then what? There are plans on file to turn part of the complex into housing [upscale or low-income spaces, depending on which proposal you read]. There's room for several other types of use [shopping or entertainment, for example]. But without investors ready to put money into the project, it's not going to happen.

Yes, it's a beautiful building. But can we afford to save it?

 

 

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