Buffalo City Hall

I took these on Friday. Buffalo has a wonderful city hall that we are proud of!
I was surprised to see a concrete central model at city hall in the planning dept… How amazing!




NESEA Building Energy Conference – March 6-8 in Boston!

Hey Friends,

You should go to NESEA’s Building Energy conference. There are so many great reasons as to why including gaining innovative knowledge and ideas, networking, seeing new products and more. I am a part of the keynote experience as well as co chairing the multifamily track with the amazing Erica Brabon and the track is sponsored by Buffalo Energy!.  Additionally, Erica, Andy Padian and I are doing an all day session on Tuesday where we teach multifamily auditing! Conferences are important and NESEA is top notch.

NESEA website <– Go here to sign up.

Here are a couple of videos that NESEA has just put out on the conference. Both Mark and myself were interviewed. Check them out!

Part 1 (of 4) of my interview.

Part 1 of Mark’s interview.

Understanding the Process of Purchasing a Demo House…

So, over the past week I have been very interested in one property that is on the most recent demo list from the City. It’s a great little house with so much exterior character. What it looks like inside? I don’t know yet. Why don’t I know? Because I need $5,000 dollars and an completed application to see inside of it. Sounds semi reasonable except I just want to see inside before I pull my resources together for the improvement cash. What if there is significant water damage? Or structural issues? Obviously, all things to look at even if it is for a real cheap price.

So I have started asking so many questions, wondering so many things about the process, who to talk and get advice from, how do you stop the demo if you are interested etc.. I have been wondering  the following…

  • Who else has done this that I can talk to about their experiences?
  • Is it hard to get insurance or a loan on a demo house?
  • Why and how do these amazing houses get onto the demo list in the first place?
  • How much are the houses worth when they are not in the homesteading area and can they be put into the homesteading program?

Okay, back to my potential little italianate house.. well, knowing certain people… I was able to get the demolition paused (thankfully!) because I sent an email through the right channels basically begging the powers that be for some time.. I have also been fortunate to email someone who connected me with the city real estate division right away (and they even responded on a weekend!) who quickly responded with the process of buying a demo house.

I have already had progress because I was lucky to know and contact certain people who know this process to guide me..  (which is awesome )… but what about the random person who wants to buy it that doesn’t know anyone who is familiar with the homesteading program? They may not know who to email or call, right?  And if they call city hall, they will get the information on the buying requirements and most likely be scared away by the requirements needed to be met –  just to see what the inside looks like.  An even bigger question is – what if they only have cash and no credit or bank account like some of our refugee families have who want to purchase a house?

So many questions and thoughts…

So before I do anything, my overall idea is to understand both sides of the issue and process first before acting, attacking or feeling alienated. One side of the process is the city – its policies, law requirements and what they are dealing with legally. The other side is the buyer – what he/she has to understand, undertake, learn and deal with – as part of the entire homesteading process. Once we know both of these processes well, perhaps we can make each more efficient? Perhaps we learn what works and doesn’t so we can help the future buyers out?

So, what do I do now? I do some research and understand.  I need to get a feel for what others have done in Buffalo but also what other cities have done. There are a lot of great houses out there that can and should be rehabbed. If the process was easier, the houses could potentially sell quicker… right?

My goal this week is to learn this process. Get a feel for it. Figure out why the city has the policies it has and how can we direct interested parties through the right channels.

More to come on this… If you have any insight, wisdom or websites you can connect me with, that would be amazing.

Heart Bombs and Love Birds… National Trust for Historic Preservation Coverage!!

Oh man. When I saw this I have never been so shaky, excited and happy in my life. This is a big deal.  Buffalo is once again in the preservation news for fun, creative things and it is great to see the Nat. Trust be so in love with Buffalo, post preservation conference. I am so pumped about the Heart Bomb idea.. I can’t believe we put it all together and put them up.  I won’t take full credit for the idea but the bomb idea was out there, the hearts were my idea. ( I love hearts!)

This article not only highlighted the our Heart Bombs that we did this weekend but it highlighted Jason and I as a power couple in the Buffalo preservation world. How incredible is that? I think its amazing. We knew going into this we would be a dream team. I mean, we are not perfect by any means but we are happy and we like to TCB and take action in Buffalo. We both want Buffalo to be more awesome than it already is.  Being a power couple is great. I feel spoiled having someone I can understand, rely on, play ideas off of and make out with all at the same time.

Here is the article: http://blog.preservationnation.org/2012/02/14/heart-bombs-and-love-stories-how-buffalos-preservation-power-couple-celebrates-valentines-day/

Here is a photo of us at St. Pauls Mall. (Now demolished.. sadly..)

I have found my dream house.

I have found the house of my dreams… now I just have to save it from demolition.

This house, 550 7th street, is an 1877 italianate cottage located in the Lakeview area of Buffalo’s West Side. It is a managable house (2000 sf) with 2 units. It has beautiful round windows, a newer roof, shutters, an amazing porch with incredible detail and is in a good location.

I have already been in contact with the city about it and was told to call tomorrow morning. According to the city official, the house has not been awarded a demo contract but it needs to be verified. If it has not been awarded, I can schedule a walk through of the house and start the paperwork. I believe I can get this for a homesteading price of $1.00!

I am crossing my fingers that this all works out and that the inside is in good shape. This may be my life consuming summer/winter 2012 project.. but it will be so well worth it. I am very excited.


More details to come..

My Favorite Building in Niagara Falls.

This building is tucked away on 6th street in Niagara falls. Did you know it was there? It is a true beauty.

It is sad to see that Niagara Falls does not have the capacity to maintain or restore these historic buildings. This one is still in great shape. Fortunately, the building looks like it was mothballed well which has helped to preserve it.
A friend told me there is a beautiful marble stair case in there and apparently the detail inside is stunning.

This needs to be saved. I will be working on figuring out the history of this and will follow up with a post soon.