Senator Sean Ryan Applauds Court Decision To Block Demolition Of Great Northern Grain Elevator


Historic Local Landmark Saved from Wrecking Ball as State Appellate Court Overturns Decision to Allow Demolition

BUFFALO – Today, April 29, 2022, New York State Senator Sean Ryan applauded the New York State Appellate Court for its decision to halt plans by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) to demolish the historic Great Northern Grain Elevator on Ganson Street.

The State Appellate Court ruled today that a lower court erred in refusing to consider evidence from The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture, and Culture before ruling on whether ADM should be allowed to demolish the grain elevator. With this ruling, the court reinstated a restraining order blocking the building’s demolition. The matter now returns to the State Supreme Court for another hearing, where advocates for the preservation of the local landmark will be allowed to present evidence.

Senator Sean Ryan said, “Today’s decision is a major victory for historic preservation in Buffalo. Too many of our historic buildings have already been lost to demolition by neglect and hasty decisions by the City of Buffalo. It’s time for ADM to recognize the historical significance of this local landmark and stop searching for reasons to knock it down.”

A December windstorm damaged the Great Northern’s outer brick wall, leaving a hole in the northern end of the building. Citing safety concerns, building owner ADM applied for an emergency demolition permit, which was later granted by the City of Buffalo. The city did not consult an independent structural engineer before granting ADM the demolition permit, instead relying on the assessment made by the building owner’s own engineer. Senator Ryan and other opponents of the demolition contend that the damage does not pose any immediate danger, as evidenced by the fact that the building has not sustained further damage during the intervening months.

Built in 1897, the Great Northern is believed to be the last grain elevator of its kind in the United States. ADM purchased the building in 1993, three years after it was designated a local landmark. ADM has previously received conditional approval for demolition from Buffalo’s Preservation Board on multiple occasions, but in each case eventually declined to comply with the conditions. The emergency demolition permit granted after the recent damage allowed ADM to bypass the Preservation Board.