Why Historic Preservation Is Important

A Look Inside The Redevelopment Process

In Buffalo, our historic architecture speaks to the growth of our industries, the impact it has had on our residential stock, and the eventual fall from that perch. The opportunity to resurrect that culture in a current time of growth and confidence in our city sets preservation as a top priority. 

In order to find a balance between past and present structural importance, one must understand that Preservation is an all-encompassing term that is improperly used for any project dealing with a building older than twenty-five years, but preservation projects can range anywhere from restoration to renovation to reconstruction type developments. 

Although new structures may seem simpler to design and implement, redeveloping historic structures allows us to create a result that is both charming and unique. 

Why is preservation important?

  • Economic incentives spur development of otherwise typically undevelopable buildings 
  • Job creation and spin off investment
  • Further understanding of the lineage of a location or building and the impact on society
  • Opportunity for the architect to engage in a design that interacts with history
  • Opportunity to regain confidence in our city

When first approaching a historic preservation development, if it is identified as a possible project, it is critical to determine if it is eligible for National Registry and therefore tax incentives. It is also important to consider how to make the project viable by inspecting the surroundings to determine what made the building deteriorate, deciding who should be the caretaker or developer of the building, and breaking down the building’s condition and character. 

Tishman Building at 10 Lafayette

What are the greatest challenges of preservation?

  • Perception: negative stereotypes of the approach as one that prevents change and growth can be hard to overcome 
  • Dependent on the project, problems could arise based on financing or the building’s stability
  • Architecturally speaking, it is difficult to establish a new paradigm in a building that was not designed for that purpose while maintaining a high level of preservation standards

What are the greatest outcomes?

  • Seeing a building left for demolition restored and brought back to operation
  • Seeing business thriving and the public enjoying the project 

With the right team in place, you can likely find a solution that manages all interests and results in the project being created. The Historic Tax Credit programs at the State and Federal level are to thank for the restoration of major commercial buildings. It is important to maintain these tax credits, as many historic projects are being completed by individuals who are investing without much help. The passion and commitment that many have for preserving our region’s buildings is irreplaceable and the rebirth of our city hinges on our ability to support these individuals. To learn more about the Historic Preservation efforts throughout Buffalo, or to find out how you can get involved, visit: The Preservation League of NYS at www.preservenys.org or The Landmark Society of WNY at www.landmarksociety.org

Steve Carmina Headshot

About the author: Steven Carmina is a Partner with Carmina Wood Morris, DPC an Architecture Engineering and Interior Design firm, and has been a Buffalo Niagara Partnership member for two years. Steve’s experience spans more than thirty years of planning, design, and project implementation for a diverse range of projects. An AIA member, Steve is also an active board member of Buffalo Place, March of Dimes, Buffalo Hearing & Speech, and Traffic on Main Street.

Up and Coming Project: Phoenix Brewery

Matt Connors and Nick Sinatra have closed the deal, and we are working hard on this up and coming project. Our friends at The Buffalo News said "Sinatra now plans to spend about $3.5 million on top of the purchase price to renovate the structure into 35 to 40 high-end, market-rate apartments, aimed squarely at well-paid medical campus employees who want to be able to walk to work. The loft-style, luxury apartments are being designed “with an industrial feel to them to fit into the old, turn-of-the-century industrial Buffalo,” Sinatra said. They will have exposed brick and concrete floors, along with features “that will accentuate the historic brewery concept that will tie it into the whole building.”

Wayne & Waldorf Nearing Completion

The Wayne & Waldorf Apartments, 1106-1110 Main Street, were constructed in ca. 1897 on the west side of what was then considered “North Main Street”, just south of Summer Street. The Waldorf is located to the north of the Wayne. The four-story brick apartment blocks are identical, bilaterally symmetrical along Waldorf Place, a small lane running between the two. The buildings were designed by Buffalo architect William H. Archer for James Campsell, who was also a carpenter. We are excited to see so much progress in the restoration and renovation of these apartments!


506 Delaware Apt


Twenty-five apartments are planned for 506 Delaware Avenue! Buffalo Rising has the facts, and the project will "be six lofted apartments, one single-level unit, and 2,700 sq.ft. of commercial space on the first floor.  The second floor will contain six lofted apartments, five single-level units and 2,500 sq.ft. of office space.  Seven single-level apartments and 2,100 sq.ft. of office space will occupy the third level." 



We received BIG THANKS from a recent client:

“Your hard work and dedication to our space layout and design has been met with rave reviews from all that work here and those visiting our office. One word seems to repeat itself ~ Beautiful”

-Dennis and Linda Szymkowiak,  Szymkowiak & Associates