AM&A update

Uniland released its plan for the AM&A site. As you know, I think that the facade should be preserved (gasworks-style), while the building itself be demolished and rebuilt. I think the facade is beautiful, and is a very cool deco-style modernist design. That would also be a reasonable compromise between preservationists who want the whole building to stay, and Uniland, which claims it must demolish the whole thing. (Typical Buffalo - no middle ground, only extremes).
Uniland Development's updated plans for the former AM&A's department store site in downtown Buffalo envision a smaller office tower than first proposed, with a reworked facade that pays homage to the existing structure.
Oh, great news. It wants to "pay homage" to AM&A. How, prithee?
The updated rendering of the building, still labeled as a conceptual design, depicts a row of balconies around the entire top floor. That feature is reminiscent of the front of the existing building.
Oh. So - replace the cool deco structure with something new that has an upper level balcony. I guess that's what passes for architectural preservation 'round here. *sigh*. But...they're going to buy AM&A, and that gives them the right to do with it what they will, right? I mean, they're going to invest their own money into buying the property, right?
As was the case with its original plan for the 377 Main St. site, Uniland is requesting a significant public inducement - $8 million in state funds, sources said. While that amount is less than the $11 million aid package Uniland originally sought, it assumes additional public funding will be tapped for acquisition of the property, which has a nearly $3 million price tag. In 2004, Uniland had included the purchase cost, along with demolition and site cleanup expenses, which are expected to be as much as $7 million, as part of the $40 million project tab.
So, Uniland wants to use tax money - $3 million of the "peoples' money" - to purchase the building from Taylor, and then another $5 million to, among other things, forever and irrevocably demolish the entire AM&A building. Why? Why does my money have to go into this project at all? If Uniland feels strongly enough not to compromise on the preservation of so much as a stone of the current AM&As, let them fund the project their damn selves. I'll bet there's lots better things we could spend $8 million on in Buffalo. If you really want to rip something down, why not start with the Main Place Mall?

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