The interest of a buyer Wednesday spurred North Tonawanda Council members to removed a dilapidated building from the demolition list during a City Council work session.
But Mayor Lawrence V. Soos vehemently opposed the move, saying the buyer already has a "bad reputation" as a landlord because he has a history of neglecting his property, Soos said.
"We've had problems with every building he owns; he has problems keeping up his property," Soos said.
Paul Brown, who owns five buildings on Oliver Street, is interested in purchasing 408 Oliver from the city. He plans to put in an antique shop and apartments. Brown said he has worked to improve his properties, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in them.
The building was put in this year's budget for demolition.
The apartment building was described by City Engineer Dale Marshall as "pretty much a total loss."
"It's as bad of a building as I've seen on Oliver Street," Marshall said.
He added it has extensive water damage and would need about $70,000 to rehabilitate. Brown said he estimated the costs at $50,000 and would be willing to come up with the money for a letter of credit as part of the terms for the purchase, which was suggested by Marshall.
The majority of the Council members said they preferred to halt the demolition and auction the property for the best offer. Brown said he thought the auction would be fair.
Second Ward Councilman Kevin Brick called the building an "eyesore" and suggested Brown purchase the land once the property is torn down.
But Brown said it would be more cost-effective to fix the property than to rebuild.
Soos said the Council had originally supported the demolition, so the about-face surprised him.
"We have the money to demolish, and now you are telling me you don't want it demolished?" he said.
"This is baloney," he added.