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Thread: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

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    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    I find it interesting that this article never got even a peep on this board with all the preservation "cheerleaders" trumpeting the saving of every building in the downtown area even though this is the very first time anyone has even considered re-use of any grain elevator in Buffalo. I guess it's all in who is doing the re-use.

    I think there are better economic development vehicles than a casino for Buffalo, but a casino is better than nothing. It's also better than the city and county forking over cash they really don't have to some out-of-state firm. Nobody has done anything with that land in 25 years, and there was no prospect of anyone doing anything with it. The casino will bring in some very well paying jobs and a lot of moderate income jobs (many more than Bass Pro if the Baitscam Store ever gets built) for the loss of a few acres of land that had little potential for redevelopment.

    I will reiterate that none of the doomsday scenarios predicted by casino opponents have occurred either in Niagara Falls or in Salamanca. Crime has NOT soared in either place. Other entertainment venues in the area have NOT suffered. I haven't seen numbers showing that even local church and VFD bingos have suffered because of casinos (although there was a big stink about the smoking ban hurting them!). The increase in "problem gambling" is anecdotal rather than statistical, and may very well be attributable to the prevalence of gaming in our society in general rather than the presence of a casino.

    Moreover, the Senecas are Western New Yorkers, too. People keep saying they're going to take all the money out of the community and not give any back, but try again. The Cattaraugus Reservation is only 30 miles south of Buffalo, and the Allegany Reservation is about 80. Many Senecas live in and around Buffalo, too, and many more shop at local malls and other retailers just like everybody else. The money the nation spends on putting in water systems or building senior housing on their reservations or providing health care services or bus transportation recirculates through the larger communities because the projects and jobs aren't for "Senecas only". Part of the casino profits go to scholarships for members who want to pursue higher education which helps local colleges. If the SNI shares its profits with tribal members (per capita payments), then that means members will have more money to spend on items that they can't buy on the reservations, from groceries to big-ticket items.

    The Senecas are trying to be good neighbors despite the fact that city officials as well as numerous politicians and so-called community "leaders" have repeatedly treated them like horse manure. You could argue that they're trying to diffuse the latest round of lawsuits, and I bet you are right, but motives are less important than actions.

    Casino may keep H-O silos after all

    By SHARON LINSTEDT
    News Staff Reporter
    2/16/2006

    The H-O Oats grain elevators on the site of the planned Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo might have a future as part of the casino complex.
    The Seneca Gaming Corp., now in the process of selecting an architect to design the Buffalo gambling facility, has asked the five finalists to come up with two sets of plans - one incorporating the milling structures and one without them.

    "If it is feasible to include them into the design in some way, we'd like to see that option," said Seneca Gaming spokesman Phil Pantano. "Absolutely no decision has been made about the silos. We need to see how they might fit into our vision for Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and at what cost."

    Following the Seneca Nation's selection of a nine-acre site along Michigan Avenue in the city's Cobblestone District, preservationists raised concerns about the fate of the elevators. Erected in 1931 at the corner of Marvin and Perry streets as part of the H-O Oats milling operation, the cluster of elevators has been idle since 1983.

    In 2002, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation made the elevators eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, but that process was never initiated.

    The Senecas recently finished demolishing the derelict milling and warehouse structures that stood next to the silos, but the elevators remain untouched. Despite the outcry from the preservation community, the Senecas had remained quiet regarding the possible inclusion of the silos in the casino blueprints until now.

    "I think this is just terrific," said John Laping, chairman of the Buffalo Preservation Board. "We'll have to see what they ultimately decide, but I think it would be very difficult to oppose a casino plan from a preservation point of view if they find a way to reuse the elevators."

    Laping noted that grain elevators in other cities have found new life through adaptive reuse. In Akron, Ohio, a series of abandoned silos was transformed into the Crowne Plaza Hotel, with guests enjoying the unique experience of "round rooms."

    Elsewhere, unused grain elevators have become home to retail shops, a cruise ship terminal and offices.

    While the Seneca Nation has opened the door to making the H-O Oats silos part of its casino plan if the cost is not prohibitive, it also is researching the cost to raze them. Pantano confirmed Seneca Gaming has solicited bids from several demolition companies to bring the elevators down.

    "We want to know the bottom line of all our options, and demolition is one those options. We can't make any final decisions without looking at all the potential costs," Pantano said.

    After breaking ground for the casino Dec. 9, the Senecas appeared to be in hurry-up mode to get the long-delayed Erie County gambling project under way. They quickly began a national search for an architect, setting a Jan. 31 target date to pick the design firm.

    That timetable has been relaxed considerably. The gaming corporation, which is considering a field of five firms for the job, now does not expect to make that decision until late March.

    "The Seneca Gaming Corp. wants to take its time to make the right selection, not only to help the Seneca Nation create something fantastic, but keeping in mind the impact this project will have on downtown Buffalo," Pantano said.

    The Senecas have asked the designers to come up with plans for a 100,000-square-foot casino with room for 2,200 slot machines, 50 gambling tables, a fine-dining restaurant, buffet and small retail shop. A 2,500-vehicle parking ramp and a casino operations center are also part of the project.

    The designers were asked to create a complex that could accommodate a future 250-room hotel with meeting rooms and banquet halls.

    Under their state gaming compact, the Senecas have until Dec. 9, 2007, to get their Buffalo casino up and running.

    The casino project faces a court challenge from a group of local residents who question how the federal government handled approval of the Senecas' casino-related land acquisition and that land's conversion to sovereign territory.
    Your right to buy a military weapon without hindrance, delay or training cannot trump Daniel Bardenís right to see his eighth birthday. -- Jim Himes

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    Member Trolls_r_us's Avatar
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    I liked the idea that Howard Simon had one morning on WGR

    Why not pain them to look like giant stacks of poker chips?

    that would be pretty cool
    The truth from a troll is still the truth.

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    How about painting them as tax-free cigarettes? :-)

    The question I have with the H-O silos is are they incorporating or reusing? I think it is great they're staying up, I just wonder how they're going to utilize them- will they be converted to something or just left up as an industrial remnant with advertising on them. Keeping them up allows some creativity, a truly Buffalo casino. Not all casinos need to look like the Bellagio- how about an industrial-like feel to the complex embracing Buffalo's blue-collar heritage, but modern architecture to look towards the future? I still don't see why they knocked down the warehouse portion of the complex either. The place was solid- it took quite a while to knock the sucker down, and 80 percent of the site they bought was vacant.

    Funny Paladino was considering re-use of that very same grain elevator before he sold it. The Senecas don't have a monopoly on creativity, maybe just deep pockets.

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    Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by Linda_D
    I find it interesting that this article never got even a peep on this board
    I saw it, but when I saw

    the five finalists to come up with two sets of plans - one incorporating the milling structures and one without them.

    I though I would wait until the selection process started. Until then its just wishful or stupid (depending on what side of the debate your on) thinking.

    Grain silos as historic treasures? Not sure about that one personally. The historical value is a little suspect to me.

    When I see a beautiful building made by a dead architect that would cost a bunch to duplicate that seems of more historic value, or even an ugly building were something of great importance happened like the Underground railroad buildings on the east side. But a silo is pretty much just a big hunk of concrete or metal.
    People who wonder if the glass is half empty or full miss the point. The glass is refillable.

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    Thanks for the article, Linda.

    I think the owners of property should be allowed to do whatever they want with it.
    Truth springs from argument among friends.

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    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by WestCoastPerspective
    How about painting them as tax-free cigarettes? :-)

    The question I have with the H-O silos is are they incorporating or reusing? I think it is great they're staying up, I just wonder how they're going to utilize them- will they be converted to something or just left up as an industrial remnant with advertising on them. Keeping them up allows some creativity, a truly Buffalo casino. Not all casinos need to look like the Bellagio- how about an industrial-like feel to the complex embracing Buffalo's blue-collar heritage, but modern architecture to look towards the future? I still don't see why they knocked down the warehouse portion of the complex either. The place was solid- it took quite a while to knock the sucker down, and 80 percent of the site they bought was vacant.

    Funny Paladino was considering re-use of that very same grain elevator before he sold it. The Senecas don't have a monopoly on creativity, maybe just deep pockets.
    It's not a done deal on the preservation. The Senecas want two sets of plans. They also want bids on the demo. Like smart businessmen, they're covering all their options.

    I believe that the warehouse had been damaged by fire. I suppose it proved tougher to come down than expect. Old buildings often are like that.
    Your right to buy a military weapon without hindrance, delay or training cannot trump Daniel Bardenís right to see his eighth birthday. -- Jim Himes

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    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by steven
    I saw it, but when I saw

    the five finalists to come up with two sets of plans - one incorporating the milling structures and one without them.

    I though I would wait until the selection process started. Until then its just wishful or stupid (depending on what side of the debate your on) thinking.

    Grain silos as historic treasures? Not sure about that one personally. The historical value is a little suspect to me.

    When I see a beautiful building made by a dead architect that would cost a bunch to duplicate that seems of more historic value, or even an ugly building were something of great importance happened like the Underground railroad buildings on the east side. But a silo is pretty much just a big hunk of concrete or metal.
    I felt like you did until the persistence of some grain elevator fans on his mb and BuffaloRising convinced me to investigate more. What I found changed my mind. I don't think the individual grain elevators are instrinsically that historical, but as a group, located close together in one area, they are a testament to Buffalo's heritage as the premier American grain port/milling center that it was 100+ years ago. They are definitely worth saving. The issue is how to reuse them, and hopefully the Senecas can find a way.
    Your right to buy a military weapon without hindrance, delay or training cannot trump Daniel Bardenís right to see his eighth birthday. -- Jim Himes

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    Re: Re: Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by Linda_D
    I don't think the individual grain elevators are instrinsically that historical, but as a group, located close together in one area, they are a testament to Buffalo's heritage as the premier American grain port/milling center that it was 100+ years ago. They are definitely worth saving. The issue is how to reuse them, and hopefully the Senecas can find a way.
    But, even if one agrees with that statement, doesn't it ruin the histororical value to say "Hey kids, look at that funny looking hotel, it used to be a grain elevator......And that strip club, that used to a grain elevator, as well".

    BTW Mark my words - The area around the Buffalo casino is prime spot for a strip club. Zoning is Industrial, no schools, residences (not many anyway) around, no playgrounds, daycares, etc.
    And plenty of traffic. Maybe a few Canadians and business travellers. Its a sure win.

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by therising

    BTW Mark my words - The area around the Buffalo casino is prime spot for a strip club. Zoning is Industrial, no schools, residences (not many anyway) around, no playgrounds, daycares, etc.
    And plenty of traffic. Maybe a few Canadians and business travellers. Its a sure win.
    Why would canadians go to a strip club in Buffalo when the laws are more lax in Ontario?

    There would also be many people screaming for the city to stop it from opening. Remember last year when someone wanted to open a gentlemans club downtown?

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by therising


    BTW Mark my words - The area around the Buffalo casino is prime spot for a strip club. Zoning is Industrial, no schools, residences (not many anyway) around, no playgrounds, daycares, etc.
    And plenty of traffic. Maybe a few Canadians and business travellers. Its a sure win.
    No way in hell. the strip clubs over here suck, dumb laws prevent the girls from taking it all off.

    I personally find stripclubs to be tacky, tasteless, and big money trap, but if i really wanted to go to one, I'd hop over the border where the girls are buck naked. Plus the chicks over there are a hell of alot better looking and in better shape than the ones on our side of the border.

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    Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by Linda_D
    I find it interesting that this article never got even a peep on this board with all the preservation "cheerleaders"
    I was surprised and happy to see them considering re-use of the elevators. But as with most developments in Buffalo, I won't get too excited until I see the final plans.

    Nobody has done anything with that land in 25 years, and there was no prospect of anyone doing anything with it.
    This is completely untrue!! Two new Lofts are right across the street from this land, and the previous owner had plans for lofts on that land. It's also right in the Inner Harbor redevelopment area that is about to see new life.

    Moreover, the Senecas are Western New Yorkers, too.
    Once again, completely UNTRUE. Western New Yorkers reside in New York state. The Senecas reside in the Seneca Nation. They are NOT New Yorkers. They are not bound by NY law and don't pay NY taxes. If they want to be better neighbors, they could be less secretive in their plans, less devious with their finances and land grabs, and avoid making dismissive statements to real WNY'ers like "we aren't going to listen to you because we simply don't have to"

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by Gabe
    Plus the chicks over there are a hell of alot better looking and in better shape than the ones on our side of the border.
    Most of them are university students from over here so dont be Knockin our women.

    I carpool to school with one of them.
    People who wonder if the glass is half empty or full miss the point. The glass is refillable.

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    Re: Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by 300miles
    "we aren't going to listen to you because we simply don't have to"
    Where do I sign up?
    Truth springs from argument among friends.

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by steven
    [BI carpool to school with one of them.
    [/B]
    Where do I sign up?


    This is getting repetitive.
    This is getting repetitive.
    Truth springs from argument among friends.

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    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Hope for a Derlict Grain Elevator

    Originally posted by 300miles
    Once again, completely UNTRUE. Western New Yorkers reside in New York state. The Senecas reside in the Seneca Nation. They are NOT New Yorkers. They are not bound by NY law and don't pay NY taxes. If they want to be better neighbors, they could be less secretive in their plans, less devious with their finances and land grabs, and avoid making dismissive statements to real WNY'ers like "we aren't going to listen to you because we simply don't have to"
    300miles, your prejudice is showing.

    TAXATION: Seneca-owned businesses on Seneca reservations are not subject to NYS regulation or taxation, and I don't know if Senecas who live on the reservations and earn their livings on the reservation are subject to NYS income tax, but certainly Senecas who live off the reservations pay taxes like everybody else, and Senecas who live on the reservation but work off the reservation also pay income tax.

    NYS LAW: Senecas are bound by NYS criminal law even on their reservations. I'm not sure how much NYS civil law extends onto the reservations. Part of this issue involves the relationship between all recognized Indian tribes and the federal government, and certain laws that the federal government's passed over the years.

    "SECRETIVE","DEVIOUS": All this "secretive" and "devious" bull manure comes from the SNOOZE which like the half-arsed rag it is, blazoned a headline backed up by little more than the speculations of casino opponents. Moreover, what business trumpets all its dealings and plans to the press? Perhaps the SNOOZE should investigate the secretive plans and devious deals involving the Great Baitscam on the Buffalo River where the taxpayers of NYS, Erie County, and the City of Buffalo are going to give millions of dollars to an out-of-state company in exchange for promises of 300 primarily minimum wage jobs.
    Your right to buy a military weapon without hindrance, delay or training cannot trump Daniel Bardenís right to see his eighth birthday. -- Jim Himes

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