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Derelict historic home on Linwood eyed for demolition

The owner of a deteriorating building on Linwood Avenue in Buffalo wants to demolish the structure that has been deemed unsafe so he can erect a new three-story apartment building in its place with five to seven luxury units.

Jesse Hawker of East Amherst is seeking permission from the Buffalo Preservation Board to take down the vacant multistory building at 295 Linwood, which dates to 1850 and is located in a historic district. The request will be considered on Thursday.

According to documents submitted to the city, Hawker originally planned to rehabilitate the 4,190-square-foot duplex house, but an evaluation by Petrilli Structural & Consulting Engineering found significant problems in the wood-framed building.

A report by the firm cited "numerous roof leaks at walls and ceilings, substantially deteriorated wood and mold is present throughout the building." Petrilli also said the "floors are significantly out of level and slope in various directions" because of settlement or deterioration, while the field-stone foundation walls "have been leaking for some time" and have "significant areas that are buckled and needing replacement."

"It is not feasible to repair these foundations due to the significant deterioration that has occurred," Petrilli wrote. "The foundations will collapse if this is not addressed very soon, as the wall integrity is severely compromised."

As a result, Hawker concluded, "the decrepit and vacant structure was deemed unsafe and unable to be salvaged into a viable project."

Instead, Hawker wants to build a new $1 million facility in the same footprint as the current building, working with the community to come up with "an appropriate design that blends in with the character of the neighborhood, yet looks to the future rather than just creating a reproduction."

A rendering of a new build at 295 Linwood Ave.

That includes maintaining a similar mass for the new building, while replicating the original entrance stoop and planters along Linwood. The building also would feature copper towers rising from the original shape of the historic structure, to "blend the past and present."

But in a nod to the modern, it also will include a new third floor that would use a non-reflective "period-appropriate" metal siding along with other materials to "soften" the appearance of the building's upper portion. Hawker also would install a driveway leading under the building to the 11-space rear parking area to keep the cars hidden in back.

"We are in the early stages of design, but feel this concept will dramatically improve this site and further restore the appeal of Linwood Avenue," Hawker wrote in the application. "The design approach is clean and elegant, and pays homage to the building's history in this beautiful downtown neighborhood."

 

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