Work has started to shore up parts of Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Main Street to prepare it for a new use as Ellicott Development Co. moves forward with a plan to build a six-story office and retail building next door.
Structural repairs are underway so that work can be done safely on the church near Main and Best streets, said William Paladino, chief executive officer of Ellicott Development Co. The preliminary work started about two weeks ago.
Some windows are now wide open and there is a section of roof on the southeastern corner of the church that was opened up for repair since it was starting to fail.
That section of the roof was removed so it did not fall in on the church interior, he said. Masonry work is being done inside the church. Ultimately, a new roof will be installed on the church, Paladino said.
Paladino said the company expects to submit a structural plan for the church to the city soon. Reuse of the church at 1115 Main St. is still being finalized.
The city gave approval to Ellicott Development earlier this year to build a $35 million retail and office building on an adjacent property at 1091 Main St. The building is designed to connect directly to the church through a glass-enclosed atrium.
The 194,000-square-foot building will have a combination of retail and office space on the first floor and five floors of medical or office space above. It will be done in a blend of colors to complement the church and also fit in with the nearby Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The church, which closed in 1992 and has been in deteriorating condition since, was stripped of some of its original stained-glass windows, pews and marble altar in the late '90s by a previous owner.
Ellicott Development, through a limited liability company, bought the church's former rectory and school in 2009. The company bought the shuttered church building the following year.