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Judge stays grain elevator demolition for now, schedules hearings on long-term future

The Great Northern grain elevator with a gaping hole in one side
Office of the Governor
The Great Northern grain elevator was damaged during a Dec. 11 windstorm.

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture, the City of Buffalo and Archer Daniels Midland Milling are heading back to court after a court-directed mediation issued Monday in State Supreme Court was concluded Tuesday and referred back to Justice Emilio Colaiacovo.

The preservationists had filed suit against the City and ADM on Dec. 17, to block an emergency demolition order requested by ADM for the Great Northern Elevator on Ganson Street issued by the city that day. The facility, which dates back to 1897, was damaged by high winds on Dec. 11. ADM has owned it since 1993, although it is long unused.

On Thursday, Colaiacovo issued a ruling that continues his stay on the demolition of the building.

"While the Court recognizes the public interest in saving a historic building, this must be balanced with important concerns such as public safety. On its face, an old building missing a large portion of a wall, combined with the overall deteriorated nature of the building, is alarming. It is also undisputed that metal sheeting has come loose from the building. However, it is unclear whether the recent incident referenced in affidavits was caused by the wind damaged northern wall. Further, it is unclear whether any further deterioration is imminent or simply anticipated."

Colaiacovo has called for fact finding hearings to be held Monday Jan. 3.

The Campaign was granted a temporary restraining order on Dec. 19, then arguments in the case were heard before Colaiacovo Dec. 27. The judge gave all parties a week to work out a solution and said if the matter was referred back to him, he would issue a written decision in short order.