Originally published by YNN, “Preservationists hope to keep Steel Site Alive,” 2012 11 18.
LACKAWANNA, N.Y.- “I love this building,” said Judy Kogut. “My father worked at the steel plant and my aunt lived down the road there, and since I was a little girl we’d go past this building and every time we passed it I though how beautiful it was.”
Kogut is talking about the old Bethlehem Steel Office Building just off Route 5 in Lackawanna. Ever since the plant closed back in 1983, the building has been dormant. Now vacant and in disrepair, the building is slated for demolition.
The current owners Gateway Trade Center were ordered by a Lackawanna judge to demolish the building over the summer, but a 90 day stay of demolition was issued by an Erie County judge in August. That stay is set to expire Thanksgiving Day.
Now, the Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group is hoping for an eleventh hour reprieve.
“We’re here to save it today and to draw awareness to it because it’s privately owned and it’s slated for demolition if someone doesn’t step forward to reuse it. So we want to make sure people understand the possibilities and the economic viability of adaptively reusing the structure,” said Dana Saylor.
Preservationists believe that the century old Beaux Arts style building, if used right, could be an important part of a revitalized waterfront.
“We could see a boutique hotel, we could see an employment center with technology, we could see an aquarium, we could see an historic museum,” said Saylor. “All of these things create jobs for people.”
“I’ve heard they want to use the area for a warehouse,” said Michael Hanna. “Why can’t they just save the facade and use the back as a warehouse or something?”
A date has not been set for demolition. Preservationists are collecting petitions signatures they plan to present to the Mayor of Lackawanna by the end of the month, but it may be too little too late to save this piece of history.
“If it gets torn down, a big part of this area’s going to be missing, and I know I’ll feel really bad,” said Kogut.
Originally published on Channel 7 WKBW, “Group Hopes to Save Bethelem Steel,” by Rachel Elzufon, 2012 11 18.
Sunday afternoon local residents and supporters re-ignited the battle to save the historic Bethlehem Steel Administration Building from demolition.
Even hough it has been decades since Bethlehem Steel shutdown in Lackawanna, leaving the building vacant, many believe the structure still has potential.
The building has been standing since the early 20th century. It carries the history of Buffalo’s glory days — when so many middle class Americans worked in the steel industry. Buffalo lay along the rust belt.
Now there is talk of bringing the building down.
Joe Peluso, whose father worked at Bethlehem Steel for decades says “I don’t see the need to tear it down. It’s a national landmark, it’s part of our history here in Buffalo.”
An Erie County Court has put off demolition for at least a little longer. Meanwhile dozens are coming together, hoping to save the building once and for all.
Peluso says “to think about it — if the steel plant wasn’t here, where would a lot of us be today? Would we have the house, the education that we have today?”
The goal of those rallying to save the building is to educate people about Bethlehem Steel’s history in the Queen City. Tens of thousands worked there, even contributing to World War II.
Mary Horowitz explained “They had the planes and ships and tanks — here at the Bethlehem Steel Plant they had one ship after another being built.”
The building has been abandoned since the 1980’s. It is now stained with graffiti, mold and broken glass.
Yet, it remains an architectural beauty remains, leaving many to believe it still has a bright future, maybe as a museum or other business.
Dana Saylor, who organized Sunday’s rally, says “hopefully a developer will come along who wants to turn it into anything from mixed use, boutique, retails, restaurant.”
Saylor is organizing a petition. In the last week, it has collected about 400 signatures. The goal is to get to a thousand.
Originally published on WIVB, “Bethlehem demo issue due in court soon,” by Lou Raguse, 2012 11 18.
Link to video: Bethlehem demo issue due in court soon
LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Many preservationists protested outside the old Bethlehem Steel building otherwise known as the “Diamond of Lackawanna” to prevent its demolition.
The 90 day stay of the demolition order expires this week and a judge will rule again by the end of the month whether the building can be knocked down.
Although people say it employed thousands of people over the years, it hasn’t employed anyone in 30 years.
Windows are smashed, but the deterioration on the outside is nothing compared to what the city officials say is inside.
The city’s code enforcer says the second and third floor ceilings have collapsed and the floors are unstable.
The city has a court order for demolition, but in August, a judge extended a stay 90 days to give the building’s owner more time to file an appeal.
The 90 day stay expires Thanksgiving day and a judge will rule again on November 28th.
The preservationists would like to see the building fixed up and developed into maybe a shopping center, hotel, or restaurants; something to draw people to the area once again.
Andrea Haxton from Lackawanna says, “It’s not going to come back to that or anything, but we have to do something to tie Lackawanna in to all the good stuff happening in South Buffalo here. This would do it for us.”
Preservationist Bill Magavern says he pledged a significant amount of money to restore the building, but is disappointed there doesn’t seem o be a plan of what can be done with it.”It’s very difficult to save a historic building if the owner and municipality are not dedicated,” he says.
The protesters still hope the building can be saved.