The Buffalo Central Terminal has been named to the 2018 World Monuments Watch list, one of just 25 cultural heritage sites around the world that the private nonprofit group has chosen to highlight.
"The brick and limestone building complex was designed by the firm of Fellheimer and Wagner, specialists in railroad architecture who were responsible for many successful designs throughout North America," World Monuments Watch wrote about the iconic former train station on Buffalo's East Side. "At Buffalo, Fellheimer and Wagner designed dazzling interior spaces with Art Deco decoration, from stylized floral details to crystalline light fixtures and geometrically patterned terrazzo floors."
The Watch "calls for investment in the redevelopment of the Buffalo Central Terminal in order to give new life to this architectural landmark."
The Central Terminal is joined on the list by imperiled sites around the world, including those damaged in recent disasters and wars, including the "Government House" in hurricane-ravaged Antigua and Souk of Aleppo in Syria.
“We are honored and flattered to be included on this hugely important list from the World Monuments Fund. We want to thank the WMF for honoring us and we look forward to working with them to help move our preservation projects forward,” said Jim Hycner, chairman of the Central Terminal Restoration Corp., in a statement. “This recognition adds to the amazing momentum the Terminal is seeing right now, including strong community support, the ULI study and backing from such leaders as Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Howard Zemsky from Empire State Development. We could not be more excited for the Terminal’s future.”
The Urban Land Institute issued a report this summer linking the Central Terminal to the return of the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood but considering that neighborhood’s low market value, they concluded it would be premature to attempt to lure private development, or to plan for transformative projects.
Instead, the panel called for arts and cultural events year-round in the Central Terminal concourse to improve the former train station’s image and appeal. Community investment also was recommended to improve nearby housing stock and infrastructure.
The study came after an unsuccessful attempt to have a new Buffalo train station located at the Central Terminal. Also, Central Terminal Restoration Corp. severed negotiations in May with Harry Stinson, a Canadian developer, who pursued plans for more than a year to create permanent event spaces and a hotel there.