Demolition of the long-vacant King Sewing Machine Co. building in Buffalo's Riverside neighborhood is on track to become a reality.
Mayor Byron W. Brown said Wednesday that an agreement has been reached to move forward with razing the red brick two-story building at 308 Crowley Ave., while preserving its two most visible elements: the original smokestack and clock/water tower.
"We now have approval from the New York State Historic Preservation Office and we issued demolition bid documents today,” Brown said in a statement released Wednesday.
“This first phase of demolition and cleanup will remove a significant blight on this neighborhood and make way for a productive redevelopment,” Brown added.
The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. purchased the 300,000-square-foot former sewing machine and television manufacturing plant – which includes vacant land – in June 2018 for $50,000.
The agency decided to raze the complex because it is deteriorating and can not be reused.
However, those efforts were stalled last May when the State Historic Preservation Office disagreed with the plans to knock down the 111-year-old building, because agency officials felt most of the complex should remain intact.
After a year of negotiations, the city and historic preservation office reached an agreement to allow the demolition, which will be funded by $565,000 in community development block grant funds from the city.
Brendan Mehaffy, executive director of the city's Office of Strategic Planning, said the demolition agreement is the result of persistence and collaboration.
He said the Department of Permits & Inspections worked for years with private owners in an effort to get them to address city building code violations.
"When not enough was being done, the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation stepped in to negotiate the acquisition of the property. Once acquired, numerous departments and agencies within city government worked together to secure funding and approvals. When the blight is removed and historic elements preserved, the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning will work with the Riverside community on a future use for this site that improves quality of life and strengthens the neighborhood,” Mehaffy said.