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Trico: Ask Matt Enstice

Colorful Trico

If the battle over preservation of Trico Plant #1 was a war, we’ve passed the point where Princip shoots Archduke Ferdinand, and now the great alliances are making grave threats

As usual with these sorts of things, an earnest argument is already being subsumed by a fog of lies, half-truths, and puffery. 

What is to be done with Trico? What are the BNMC’s plans for the site? Are they really going to start demolition next month? Is it a structure that BNMC can preserve? Should preserve? Wants to preserve? 

In a few weeks’ time, I will conduct an audio or video podcast interview with BNMC’s Matthew Enstice where he will answer questions selected from the thread below, and from Twitter (use the hashtag #AskMatt), or shoot me an email at this address.  The topic is BNMC’s growth & plans for the Trico building. Have at it. 


  • There is only one important issue……where will the food trucks be allowed to park?

  • Joseph Coppola

    OK Buffalo. Let’s save another asbestos and lead filed rat infested eye sore. It’s what will draw tourists. This and those friggin’ grain elevators. A monument to the civil stupidity of Buffalo, that’s what the Trico building is. It’s not a cathedral, it a stumble in the path of progress. Tear it down. Make sure the Ulrich’s Tavern is saved. That’s a cathedral.

  • Ed

    Another Hickory Woods….the place was loaded with haz waste. Run, don’t walk away from this.

  • Publius

    Yes Joseph, “let’s save another asbestos and lead filed rat infested eye sore”. Because every single historic building that we’ve saved in this town – and there have been many – has been a wonderfully successful project that added immeasurable value to this community.

    Since historic preservation has been the most successful economic and community development projects to date, why would be stop with Trico?

  • Joseph Coppola

    O.K. If the Trico plant building can be restored and incorporated into the BNMC foot print at no extra cost in dolars, jobs & time, it should be considered, but it’s got all the ear makks of a big ol’ white elephant. All this noise about those grain elevators. They are eyesores, not the Pyramids at Giza. They gotta go!!! Don’t get me started about the Peace Bridge. When I shipped out with the Navy in 1970, I remember all the talk about building a second bridge. When I retired & came bacf to Buffalo in 1996, they were still talking. They are still talking. Whoa!

  • I believe there is talk about lighting up the grain mills in different colors of light.

    http://www.buffalonews.com/city/communities/downtown/article759387.ece

    http://blogs.artvoice.com/avdaily/2012/03/14/getting-behind-lighting-the-grain-elevators/

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The public agency leading the effort to revitalize Buffalo’s Lake Erie waterfront plans to light up the city’s towering grain elevators as part of a summer demonstration project.

    Buffalo media outlets report that the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. has approved a more than $300,000 contract with a local architectural firm to study the feasibility and cost of lighting up 15 grain elevators on the city’s south side.

    Officials say lighting up the structures at night will draw visitors to Buffalo’s waterfront this summer.

    The world’s first grain elevators were built in Buffalo in the 19th century. Most of the hulking concrete structures towering over the Buffalo River are no longer in operation, but preservation advocates say they can be used to attract visitors interested in the city’s industrial heritage.

  • saltecks

    Actually, the first grain elevators were not built in Buffalo. Even if you are referring to the reinforced concrete silos, that honor goes to the Peavey-Haglin Experimental Concrete Grain Elevator built in Minnesota.

  • Beckycg

    “Joseph Dart never claimed to be the inventor of the grain elevator — just the one who perfected it (in 1842). In a speech delivered to the Buffalo Historical Society in 1865, Dart paid tribute to Oliver Evans as the person who first worked out the principles for handling grain mechanically. During the 1780’s, “Evans developed a simple machine that consisted of a series of buckets attached to a leather or canvas and rubber belt revolving upon pulleys.” It was Evan’s desire to create some sort of Conveyor that could “remove flour or grain in a horizontal direction to the point where the elevator could receive it. Evan’s process was ingenious in that the flour was kept in motion and exposed to the air until thoroughly dry and ready for packing.””

  • Will any new facility that is built on the former Trico property retain the scale of the original building and be built to the curb rather than set back and surrounded by parking?

  • Have environmental studies been done for the Trico property? If so, to what extent? Will you release those studies to the public?

    Some who are critical of preservationists claim property owners should be able to do anything they want with their property. Do you agree? If not, to what extent do property owners have an obligation to consider nearby property owners and the entire community when making changes to their properties, including demolition? To what extent do property owners have to consider others in taking actions not governed by law, i.e. beyond zoning regulations?

    How important to BNMC is preservation of the intact, multiple-story, built to the curb built environment on Goodell between Ellicott and Washington and Washington between Burton and Goodell?

    If the building is demolished, what’s the plan for reuse of the property? What’s the timeline for reuse?

  • Ben

    Look, I’m as much for full use of land as possible, and I love me some dense, walkable neighborhoods. But let’s not go overboard on the “intact, multiple-story, built to the curb built environment” bit. The Trico factory, let’s recall, is a frickin’ factory. When it was a working factory, it didn’t have an espresso bar and a bike shop at ground level. It was an industrial building, on a massive scale. And of course, for many many years, the blocks surrounding the Trico building have been whatever the opposite of walkable is. Desolate? Yes, desolate.

    So we’re not talking about “preservation” of some excellent urban environment. That environment has simply never existed on the site; when you’ve got a dozen loading bays and a workers’ entrance backing up to the curb, “built-to-the-curb” doesn’t mean anything. We’re talking about “preservation” of the POTENTIAL for an excellent environment. And at present, that potential is a long, long way from being realized, and a realistic assessment of the situation would probably conclude that such potential will never be realized with the current building.

    I’m all for pushing for smart reuse of the site. The factors you mention will be relevant and important. But let’s be fair — the current “built environment” ain’t doing nothing for nobody.

  • NCJ

    Why shouldn’t the community expect at least the same level of due diligence regarding the TRICO building demolition that we’ve seen from organizations like Kaleida regarding the Gates Circle Hospital. There, they brought in the Urban Land Institute to conduct a reuse study, set clear goals and expectations from the start, and conducted a public 12+ month public process that solicited broad expert input in a transparent manner. UB staff have helped manage that process. Kaleida and UB are two of the three main members of BNMC. Instead of of following its members’ lead, BNMC is conducting a process that seems rushed, unprofessional, and tone deaf to the neighborhood and community. So, why not bring in ULI, along with support from UB, have a reasonable time period and budget, and do this right?

  • ^ [applauds above comment]