Vernor Building - DEMOLISHED 2006
752 Main Street, Bufflo, NY

Vernor Building, erected c. 1903 as a showroom for Pierce autos (perhaps the first auto showroom in the country)

In 1998, Buffalonian Scot Fisher spotted the illegal removing of terra cotta decoration on the Vernor Building. Further removal was prevented but much damage was done.

Vernor Building intentional terra cotta removal

Judge Nowak fines owner of Vernor Building

March 7, 2005

City Court Judge Henry Nowak has issued a $51,000 fine to the owner of a dilapidated building at 752 Main St.

Nowak convicted Tech Associates, headed by David Shifrin of Cleveland, on 35 counts,and enforced the maximum sentence of $1,500 on 34 of them.

"It was a classic case of demolition by neglect," Nowak said from the bench.

The building in Buffalo's Theater District began as a downtown salesroom for Pierce-Arrow motor cars, and later was home to Vernor's Ginger Ale. It has been empty for decades, its deteriorating condition advanced by a large hole in the roof.

Although the building had been cited several times for code violations since the early 1990s, Tech Associates had avoided making a single improvement or paying a fine. Shifrin has contended he attempted, without success, to develop the building a half-dozen times in the past 20 years.

Schmidt Building razed; Vernor spared for now
By Sharon Linstedt

Excerpt from an article published in the February 18, 2004 Buffalo News

The Schmidt Building is history, while the Vernor Building has received a temporary reprieve from the wrecking ball, courtesy of a Buffalo Housing Court ruling.

The fate of the two derelict structures, located side by side at 736 and 756 Main St. in the Theater District, has been a topic of interest for city inspectors, the buildings' owners and preservationists for nearly a decade.

City Court Judge Henry J. Nowak has partially ended the long debate by granting owner Alex Schmidt's request for demolition.

Vernor Building

The fate of the Vernor Building is less clear. While Nowak barred emergency demolition of the former
Pierce Arrow automobile showroom, he raised serious questions about its prospects for rehabilitation. "While there was insufficient evidence that the building is in imminent danger of collapse ... neither rehabilitation of the building, nor facade preservation, would be appropriate," the judge wrote in his decision.

Nowak ordered Teck Associates of Cleveland, the building's owner, to work with the Buffalo Preservation Board toward an exemption to historic preservation rules to allow demolition. The judge noted that the preservation board not only has the power to grant the razing, but also can require that historical elements of the Vernor Building be used in any development on the site.

Preservation Board President John Laping said it's likely the panel would grant the demolition waiver, given what he called the "God awful" condition of the building. "It makes me very angry to be at this point." Laping said of the likely demolition.

[Vernor Building owner] David Shifrin is the former owner of Teck Theater, which had been located on the north side of the Schmidt Building. The bulk of that structure was demolished in the early 1980s, and its lobby and marquee were razed in 1992.

Photos and their arrangement 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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