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City of Buffalo still seeking eminent domain for burned Cobblestone St buildings

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown stands outside of a building that is falling apart while talking to the press. There are four people standing next to him.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown holds a press conference outside 110 and 118 South Park Ave in the Cobblestone District on June 19 regarding the fire the night before.

Less than 24 hours after a large fire broke out in the Cobblestone District, the city says they still plan to seek eminent domain for the South Park Ave buildings.

"The city was moving for eminent domain of these structures. This fire occurring at these structures, does not change that. The city will continue to pursue eminent domain to work to serve and protect these important structures," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in a press conference on Wednesday, June 19.

Darryl Carr, who owns the buildings at 110 and 118 South Park Ave, has been battling the city since 2022. The city wants to take the buildings using a process that allows them to purchase the land without the owner's consent. However, Carr has wanted to demolish.

"These are all historic properties, six historic properties, in varying conditions now after the fire, but historic properties in our historic Cobblestone District in the city of Buffalo. We will be treating how we handle these properties going forward with great sensitivity," said Brown.

"We know that there is a lot of concern for preservation in our city. These are some of the oldest properties still left in the city of Buffalo, and we are very mindful of that," he added.

Brown says the city plans to do emergency stabilization rather than demolition, and will continue to pursue eminent domain. Streets surrounding the buildings, including South Park and Illinois, will also be closed and residents are discouraged from going near the buildings during this process.

"We have an imminent hazard here. So the way we mitigate that right now, in a way to do the best we can to preserve, is by keeping people away from it," said Cathy Amdur, City of Buffalo Commissioner of Permits & Inspections. "We want to preserve them, but we need the public's help in staying away from them, keeping themselves safe, and that is what is allowing us to do the work we need, and the time it takes to do that, to do the best we can for these buildings and for the historic district."

According to the city,110 South Park was originally built and used as a bakery in 1852, and 118 South Park was built as the Brown & McCutcheon Brass Foundry in 1869.

Brown added Wednesday that the properties "were already in a state of disrepair and neglect before they caught fire yesterday."

On Tuesday night, Carr indicated to WBFO Reporter Alex Simone that he was still interested in demolition, saying, "this emergency demo is going to be a financial burden, also, because a normal demolition is less expensive.”

Emyle Watkins is an investigative journalist covering disability for WBFO.