1. Dana Saylor, Old Time Roots, lays out a detailed plan of action for reuse.
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has deemed the building eligible, so a National Register of Historic Places nomination was undertaken, and is nearly complete. All that is needed is access to the building, so the author can add interior descriptions and facts to the application. Once completed, the structure will be available for preservation tax credit projects.
Request for Proposals
Owners, armed with the assistance of local preservation organizations, can easily put together a request for proposal, with some adaptive re-use ideas, to attract local, regional, even international developers. Sometimes, developers just need to be shown the market opportunities and potential.
The owners were given a simple and fiscally feasible plan to leverage historic tax credits (20% state plus 20% federal for a commercial/industrial/residential/office project) to help cover the costs of rehabilitation. This information can be included in the RFP.
Certified Local Government
If the City of Lackawanna agreed to become a Certified Local Government, they could adopt a model law, institute a Preservation Commission, and start to see state and federal grant money flow into the City for brownfield remediation, Main Street revitalization, historic property surveys, rehabilitation of historic City-owned properties, etc. Support from SHPO, technical training, and other assistance helps a community capitalize on the available monies (this has been done in many neighboring places, like Lancaster, Buffalo, Hamburg, Springville, East Aurora, etc).
Plan for Reuse
Developers have adaptively reused similar sites across the country, including necessary remediation, into successful retail/restaurant space, office, technology incubator space, boutique hotel, museum or public space, or arts center. Waterfront development coming down the Lake Erie shore is bringing more and more people and investment to the area. Local politicians and community members have thrown their support behind an improved waterfront, getting buy-in from the citizens and businesses. With proper marketing, the site could easily be seen as the developer’s dream that it truly is.
Next Steps/What We Need
- The mayor to revoke the order of demolition
- The owners of the building to agree to work with established local preservation groups and historic architecture firms on a plan of either re-use, or RFP to developers
2. Site plans for The Steel Center, by Casey William Milbrand. PDF files available by request.
3. Originally produced as an academic thesis, in the SUNY Buffalo, School of Architecture and Planning, “Heritage Tourism,” by Darren Cotton, 2012. Download in PDF form.