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A new twist in the Great Northern debate

Great Northern Grain Elevator
Emyle Watkins
The Great Northern grain elevator on Ganson Street in Buffalo, still showing its damage from a December wind storm.

There's been yet another twist in the debate over the future of Buffalo's Great Northern grain elevator.

Earlier this week, the Buffalo Common Council issued a resolution calling for owner Archer Daniels Midland to hold off on its demolition plans for the long-vacant grain elevator on Ganson Street, where part of a brick outer wall collapsed during a mid-December wind storm.

On Wednesday, developer Douglas Jemal said he would pay $100,000 to stabilize the historic building and hire an outside inspector to assess the 125-year-old landmark.

Then Thursday at noon, City Hall issued a permit to ADM to proceed with the demolition.

Mayor Byron Brown told the Buffalo News the city's reason for having waited to release the demolition permit to ADM was merely procedural, as their application was not completed initially. He added the city was legally obligated to issue a demolition permit to ADM under the law, and the recent State Supreme Court decision that found the city's action to allow demolition was rationally made last month.

An appellate court filing was expected Thursday afternoon, as the Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture seeks another temporary restraining order to prevent the demolition until further review.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.