Bad Breaking News: Judge lifts stay of demolition on former Bethlehem Steel building

Originally published by the Buffalo News, “Judge lifts stay of demolition on former Bethlehem Steel building,” by Mark Sommers, 2012 11 27.

The former Bethlehem Steel administration building in Lackawanna moved closer to demolition today after an appeal was rejected by an Erie County Court judge.

A 90-day stay had been issued by Judge Kenneth F. Case to give time to Gateway Trade Center, the building’s owner, to explore alternatives to demolition.

But in Case’s courtroom today, no alternatives were presented by the company’s lawyer, who also didn’t dispute the City of Lackawanna’s contention – rejected by preservationists – that the building was not salvageable.

Instead, the attorney for Gateway – a subsidiary of New Enterprise Stone and Lime Co. of New Enterprise, Pa. – argued that demolition was costly and that more time was needed. The city’s attorney argued that was not its concern.

Case said he had no alternative but to uphold the order of demolition obtained earlier by the City of Lackawanna.

Gateway had been in discussions with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to develop a plan and prepare a full structural analysis of the three-story, Beaux Arts-style 1901 building, with its ornate facade that includes graceful columns and decorative Corinthian pilasters, pediments and dormers.

Preservationists have urged that the decaying building be saved for its architectural and historic value as an iconic building from the region’s industrial era.

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