Razing Lockport

Posted by MJ

5/27/11 Update

Heard that Mayor Tucker is putting together a group to informally look into what opportunities may exist in salvaging any of the building and if not the materials. The idea of storage of the old canal stone was also disscussed as recently as 2 weeks ago with possible ideas for reuse such as the "upper harbor" if it ever came to be.


The Buffalo News reported that Lockport received $200,000 to raze the Kohl Motorcycle building at 71 Gooding St.

In Lockport, 71 Gooding St., the former Kohl Motorcycle building, owned by the city because of unpaid taxes, is targeted for razing....
A large concrete structure next to the Gooding Street site, 2 Clinton St., is still owned by Anna Kohl, widow of Walter Kohl, the former motorcycle mechanic.
“The Kohl family has expressed interest in giving that building to the city,” Lockport Director of Engineering and Public Works Norman
D. Allen said.
It's always painful to hear of the obtaining of money for demolition instead of rehabilitation. It's as if we have not permenently removed enough of Lockport over the past 60 years.

I'm not sure if the roof collapse happened after the city took over but it is a shame that another of the few remaining stone buildings in Lockport is planned to become another lovely overgrown field. Probably does not need to be said but : "They don't build them anymore". Buildings with collapsed roofs have been brought back in Buffalo (see Webb Building as an example) but I doubt the market is there in Lockport for the investment (even with the appropriate historical tax credits etc). It's a shame that programs are not put into place to try to lure in canal side development anywhere in the city. If done, this shell could prove valuable in the future.

If nothing else, I've always thrown around in my head the idea of taking sections of the facade and moving them to buildings on Main St. Could even give City hall a "face-lift".


Liz said...

I think this building is a huge liability for Lockport more than anything else, probably why it's on the chopping block. My house is nearby - the police are constantly there due to vandals and people breaking in. Remember when the cop fell through the floor chasing suspects in it just a year or so ago? It would be great to see a developer buy it and rehab it into something useful, but as you said - the demand and the money are not there unfortunately. I always saw that place as a great arts warehouse / loft space rehab, but it would cost millions. Another one lost, unfortunately.

Patti said...

I am very happy to report that "my" Church, at the corner of Market and Vine Streets, has been purchased by a woman who is going to live in it as a single family home. Just her.
Already she has had the electrical put in (passing code) and has had two HUGE dumpsters filled with cr@p taken away. She even trimmed the bushes out front.
She intends to restore it to its former glory. This will take time as her workforce is herself and one worker guy. And she lives in Denver! She found the Church on the internet. I was floored! She did make one trip to take a look at it, but couldn't even get inside!
Behind my Church is the former rectory (I think) which was owned by Josie and sold to a lovely young woman who is in the process of rehabbing THAT! I was in the house when she first bought it and again about a week ago. It is beautiful! She's keeping as much of the original structure as she can and that which she can't she's doing as close to original as possible.
Now that there is money available to rehab historic homes and buildings I'm hoping more Lynns who want a cut stone church.will use the 'net to find a house\ building in our City. There IS a future in our history. A wonderful one. Our future is in our past. They WILL come.
They will come to the Flight of Five, too. There's nothing like it in the nation. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

MJ said...

Those two properties came before the Zoning Board of Appeals to fix the property lines betwen them. Glad to see that they are still moving forward.

When the church was for sale for $27k I wish I had the resources to do what she is doing. But it has been enough work to do it to an already "functioning" house where we could do it room by room. But the thought of huge ceilings, lots of light and the canal out the front door was beautiful.

It's great these are being done. We need to make it easier and more rewarding (in regards to return on investment) to make them more of a norm.

Patti said...

They are moving forward, MJ. Not that I have any delusions that it will be a quick procedure. I'm thrilled that these two are being "saved." That property line has been determined. Now it's on to mine - there's quite a difference between her survey and mine - but I have no doubt that it will be taken care of. Odd that the same surveyor did both surveys. (lol!)
I know we had pipe dreams about buying the Church. The problem would occur when it was time to seal it up, then make it into a place where one would like to live.
I'm so happy that someone who appreciates the history of the Church and the surrounding area has purchased it. Together with the cut stone cottage up and to my right on Cottage Street - we have our own little rehabilitation corner going on.
I'm thrilled! So's Hank & his family. I agree with you that we need to make more money available to people who are willing to buy these houses/buildings. The Historic Preservation Commission will have tax credits available soon and, hopefully, actual cash.

P.S. The Church Lady found the Church on the internet. We have to get the message out there, i.e. perhaps when it's tax sale time.

G. I. Joe said...

don't get too excited about people purchasing houses over the internet. I've heard that there are several disastrous examples in Lockport of how property was purchased and just left unattended. Looks like we lucked out with the new "Church Lady"

If there are more like here we'd be lucky and gto have them!

Patti said...

Oh, I know GI Joe...
The bulk of them are Canadians who never even see the property, much less maintain it.
The last guy who bought it was going to put an Ani DeFranco type recording studio in it and have intimate concerts. Then he lost his shirt and it's been empty (again) for the last three years. If we HAVEN'T lucked out with the Church Lady (I like it-that's her name from now on) you'll have to tolerate my b@1ch1ng about it non-stop. Last winter was a slow time - only murdered 4 rats.

G. I. Joe said...

I hope she follows through..we need more people with a good feeling for historical values and a sharp eye for architectural beauty to buy property here. This is America's best kept historical housing secret. You would think a smart administration would try to capitalize on that theme! A moratorium on Multi-unit property splits is in order. Leave single family houses alone! and make it more difficult to use vinyl siding..lol

Patti said...

GREAT idea!! This Church Lady definitely has that "feel."
I know you won't like this, but it was Mike Tucker who came up with the idea for the Historic Preservation Board and invited the individuals to serve on it.
I'm honored to be one of those people. We've worked very hard for over three years and still have a long way to go. We're making progress!

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