October 19, 2011
The Statler, in bankruptcy and endangered until transferred to Statler City LLC on March 16, 2011, was glittering on October 19, as thousands of registrants to the National Preservation Conference, including persons from every state in the union and from Canada, arrived for the Conference's opening reception. The Statler will also host additional events during the Conference, including a breakfast of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (Friday, October 20) and the Conference's clsoing plenary on Saturday, October 21st.
Buffalo News Mayor backs $5.3 million public outlay for Statler August 31, 2011
Buffalo News Statler Awhirl in Restoration August 24, 2011
Buffalo News Developer Working to Restore Ice Ball to Statler Towers June 20, 2011
Crews Begin Work on Statler Towers May 11, 2011
BRO Statler See the Light Again May 9, 2011
Background on Campaign to Save the Statler
On March 16, 2011 the Statler Building was transferred by the bankruptcy trustee to Statler City, LLC. Buffalo News article on the transfer At this ceremony, PBN Executive Director Henry McCartney thanked Mark Croce, owner of Statler City LLC for his willingness to step forward to undertake this vital effort, while stating that "we cannot simply thank Mark and just go home. Mark [and his attorney, Bob Knoer], have made it very clear that the Statler is not a typical development and that this building will need and deserves additional support to truly insure its future. Over these last months, the public, the press, our local and state political leaders, and our preservation community all expressed support for the Statler. We must now find ways to support Mark and Statler City LLC to insure that the new ownership of this building is the start of what will be a wonderful success". full remarks
This illustration created by Flynn Battaglia, Architects shows the impact on Niagara Square if the Statler cannot be saved.
Completed in 1923, the Statler Building was a gift from “America's Extraordinary Hotelman" to his adopted city of Buffalo, NY. Ellsworth M. Statler came from humble beginnings in Ohio and West Virginia, and through hard work, shrewd business decisions, creative use of advertising, and adherence to high standards for his employees and their treatment of his customers, built one of the most successful hotel chains in the United States. The Hotel Statler was designed by George B. Post & Sons with interiors by Louis Rorimer. (Photo by Douglas Levere)
PRESERVATION BUFFALO NIAGARA BACKS DEVELOPER’S STATLER PLAN
BUFFALO, NY (November 10, 2010) – Leaders from Preservation Buffalo Niagara today announced their support of a plan detailed by the leadership of Statler City LLC for the long-term revitalization of the historic Statler property at 107 Delaware Avenue.
Both organizations advanced a “blended partnership” concept of community, philanthropic and government support to address the immediate “first phase” needs to stabilize the building’s exterior and address specific public safety issues.
“The Statler is a national significant building much beloved by Buffalonians. Preservation Buffalo Niagara is pleased to announce today our support of an effort to revive this vital building” stated Henry McCartney, executive director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara. “The principals of Statler City LLC have done their homework, carefully studied the building and come up with a feasible plan. It is now time to show them our support and move forward with this effort to save the Statler”
Mark D. Croce, a principal of Statler City, said the decision to make an offer to buy the Statler was both a practical and emotional decision. “The Statler is an integral part of our community, not simply for her historical and architectural significance, but for the role she has played for generations in this community,” explained Croce. “I want my son to be able to experience the Statler as my father and his father did before him.”
Statler City attorney Robert Knoer delineated the specific plan to an invited group of community and media leaders. The proposed phases are:
1. Use blended funds to secure the exterior to allow for the removal of the fence and boarded up façade and to repair the roofs to prevent further deterioration.
2. Use private funds to revitalize the first floor and mezzanine area into mixed use space that would allow for a revolving infusion of cash from banquet and small retail operations. This money will be used to pay the required operating expenses of the building pending more extensive redevelopment.
3. Allow for the remaining tower space to grow organically as the local market demands into hotel, residential or if needed office space.
As part of that longer term revitalization, a connection to the existing Buffalo Convention Center across Franklin Street is proposed. This allows the community to get a benefit back for their investment in stabilization, Knoer explained. The ability to finally realize a larger Convention Center will lead to more convention dollars, bed tax and sales tax revenues, and an infusion of out of the region dollars being brought into the local economy, he said.
“We have advanced the concept of tying into the Convention Center to allow for their long desired expansion. This provides a real public benefit in return for the stabilization investment. A new 50,000 square foot exhibition space could connect the center to the elegant meeting and banquet space of the Statler.” he said.
Knoer added that the site for the convention center was originally selected for its proximity to the Statler, and the Statler was run as a Convention Center itself. A final decision to expand the Center would have to be up to the Convention and Visitors Bureau and City and County officials.
“We’re interested in working with governmental entities and even other developers in using the Statler for creative community solutions,” Croce said.
Preservation Buffalo Niagara has proposed an innovative funding mechanism for the $5 million necessary to complete stage one and bring the Statler back to an active community role.
“We believe this investment can and should be shared by a variety of community, government and philanthropic sources, a combination that is more than a traditional public /private partnership, one that establishes blended partnership,” explained Catherine Schweitzer, chair of Preservation Buffalo Niagara.
“Often times in our community we look for some outsider to ride in on a white horse and rescue us from our challenges. We have the capacity and commitment in our community to answer this challenge together,” she said. Details as to how others can support the Statler project will be announced after the sale of the Statler closes.
Preservation Buffalo Niagara is a membership organization with more than 1000 individual and family members, plus civic, foundation and corporate supporters. Its’ mission is to identify, preserve, protect, promote and revitalize historically architecturally significant sites, structures, neighborhoods, commercial districts and landscapes in Western New York.
Preservation Buffalo Niagara announced on January 18, 2010 its nomination of the Statler Building, located in Buffalo, NY, to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2010 America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places program. The nomination has been submitted to the Trust with broad support from the community, local and state elected officials, and civic organizations. This nomination was covered in a Buffalo News article.
The most gratifying result of this process has been the wide spread support of this nomination from our region's and state elected officials, plus key cultural institutions. Here are their letters of support. Some offices still are working on their supporting letters, which will be submitted as they are received.
Letters of Support
New York State Governor David A. Paterson (pdf, 112kb)
A Joint Letter from Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer (pdf, 13kb)
Congressman Christopher J. Lee (pdf, 22kb)
Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (pdf, 42kb)
New York State Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (pdf, 687kb)
New York State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger
New York State Senator Antoine M. Thompson (pdf, 163kb)
Buffalo Common Council President David A. Franczyk (pdf, 47kb)
Buffalo Preservation Board (pdf, 68kb)
Preservation League of New York State (pdf, 907kb)
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society (pdf, 45kb)
Zonta International (Founded in the Original Statler) (pdf, 73kb)
Musicians' Association of Buffalo (pdf, 48kb)
Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (Held National Event in 1935) (pdf, 28kb)
Theodore L. Lownie, Partner, Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects, LLC
(Architect for The Roycroft Inn, Another 11 Most Recipient)
While the Statler has suffered through a slow decline for many years, until recently, the building was in private ownership and grand plans for the property lulled preservationists, city officials and the Buffalo public into a false sense of security about the building’s future.
In bankruptcy, the Statler went to auction in 2009. The threat to the Statler was not fully recognized until the default of the bidder and the Trustee in Bankruptcy decision to shutter the building. On January 12th, an attorney for PBN urged the Bankruptcy Court to delay plans to vacate the building and to keep the building heated at least through this winter. Otherwise, the damage that is likely to result to the building will be tremendously higher that any short-term savings from reduced operating costs. Leaving the Statler vacant and unheated will jeopardize the Statler's future economic viability. Joining PBN supporting this effort was Sen. Antoine M. Thompson. Unfortunately, the judge ruled that he had no reason to interfere with the actions of the Trustee and the Trustee stated that work would immediately commence to mothball the building.
(Photo By Martin Wachaldo)
The federal government has guidelines for mothballing of an historic building and PBN is also concerned that the proposed mothballing of the Statler will not meet these standards.
Buffalo benefits significantly from its historic resources and an asset such as the Statler Building is an opportunity as well as a challenge for the future of the city. Prominent on Buffalo’s Niagara Square, adjacent to City Hall, the building has been the city’s social center for many decades.