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Central Terminal is given a temporary face-lift, thanks to "Marshall" crew

Fans of the Central Terminal have been waiting for at least two to three decades for someone to renovate the Broadway landmark, and someone finally did it.

And it looks great.

But this was more of a temporary, cosmetic renovation.

[Gallery: Faux restoration of the Central Terminal]

Instead of marble, frosted glass and oak, workers used plywood, Styrofoam and cardboard to create scenes for the movie “Marshall.”

While that may seem like bad news, there is a silver lining.

The makeover opened revenue opportunities for the Central Terminal Restoration Corp. and allowed organization to book more upscale events.

And with every event, the Central Terminal comes closer to returning to its original 1920s and 1930s Art Deco style.

“(This renovation) shows not only what the concourse used to look like in its original form but also more importantly what it will look like as we continue with our restoration, Restoration Corp. board member John Jiloty said in an email.

The actual renovation of the East Side landmark would cost about $100 million – not the $90,000 the movie producers spent on the cosmetic job.

So far, the Central Terminal has booked about 30 events, an uptick from the five or so events last year. It also continues to book historical and ghost tours.

Cosmetic changes include nearly 20 refurbished windows, about 10 ticket counters and three retail kiosks in which plywood was painted to look like marble. Plastic also was used to replicate frosted glass.

However, real wood paneling and doors were used on the mezzanine, which was set up as a restaurant for the movie, and half the concourse walls were refinished in wood and painted to look like the original marble.

The makeover took about 2½ weeks to complete, using the toil of 15 to 20 people each day.

“We pretty much gave them the keys to the building,” said Mark Lewandowski of the Restoration Corp.

Recently, the restoration non-profit has completed some improvements, including fixing a leaky roof. Last month, community volunteers also refurbished sconces and lights.

Over the long term, Toronto developer Harry Stinson is proposing a $200 million redevelopment plan for the building and the surrounding neighborhood.

But on Saturday, the sixth annual Classic and Custom Car Show brought locals back to the landmark.

Some older residents looked in wonder at the restored station they hadn’t seen since they were kids. Others wanted to make sure the Restoration Corp. continues its mission.

Old versus new: at left, one the sales counters that hasn't been restored, and, at right, a sales counter given a cosmetic face-lift by the crew of "Marshall." (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Old versus new: at left, one the sales counters that hasn't been restored, and, at right, a sales counter given a cosmetic face-lift by the crew of "Marshall." (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Dick Brownlee even offered to return part of the stone floor he took from the site in the 1980s as a souvenir of a bygone era. His motive, he said, was to hold onto a piece of the city he loved, especially since he wasn’t sure the Central Terminal would be around much longer.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen to it,” he said.

Brownlee said he thought the Central Terminal looks great – an improvement from its 1980s appearance.

Now with the ongoing changes, Brownlee said he is more confident the Central Terminal will stick around, and he’s eager to aid in the renovations.

email: chsieh@buffnews.com

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