Feb 21 “Court orders halt to demolition at Bethlehem Steel site” The Buffalo News

Originally published by The Buffalo News, “Court orders halt to demolition at Bethlehem Steel site,” February 21, 2013.

A group of preservationists has won a court order that temporarily stops the demolition at the site of the Bethlehem Steel Administration Building in Lackawanna, pending a hearing Wednesday in State Supreme Court.

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo and attorney Richard G. Berger on Thursday won a temporary restraining order from acting State Supreme Court Justice Thomas P. Franczyk that, for now, halts the demolition work that began last month on an addition to the long-vacant structure on Fuhrmann Boulevard.

The building originally was scheduled for demolition in May, when the city obtained a court order forcing owner Gateway Trade Center to tear down the Beaux Arts-style building, which dates to 1901.

A 90-day stay granted in Erie County Court to give Gateway time to explore alternatives for reusing the building expired in November, and the company in December hired Zoladz Construction to perform the demolition.

The contractor on Jan. 24 began tearing down a rear chemical laboratory that was added decades after the original building.

Tim Tielman of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo said his group is seeking a permanent injunction barring further demolition until an environmental review is performed.

Lackawanna City Attorney Norman A. LeBlanc Jr. said Thursday afternoon that he had not yet seen Franczyk’s order but added that no environmental review is required because a City Court judge ordered the demolition after the building was condemned.

Another group of activists, the Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group, has sued Gateway, arguing that the company hid a structural engineering report filed in August that determined the building was structurally sound.


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