Central Terminal on 2018 World Monuments Watch List

In an announcement earlier today, the Buffalo Central Terminal (BCT) was selected to the World Monuments Fund’s (WMF) 2018 Monuments Watch list (WMWL). The BCT was named along with 25 other sites from around the world and one of two sites selected in the United States.

WMF has worked with local communities and partners to complete more than 600 projects at heritage sites worldwide. Through fieldwork, advocacy, education and training, WMF and its affiliates help ensure a future for monuments, buildings, and sites around the globe.

“By building an international coalition, the World Monuments Watch protects both the sites themselves and the shared history they embody,” said Joshua David, President & CEO, WMF. “We may be best known for the excellence of our conservation practices, but the human impacts of our work ultimately mean the most. Sites like the 25 on the 2018 Watch are where we come together as citizens of the world and renew our commitments to justice, culture, peace, and understanding.”

Though the BCT lost out on a bid to be selected as the new Amtrak station earlier this year, the WMWL selection will put the BCT on the world stage. It’s very exciting news for the terminal and for East Buffalo.

“We are honored and flattered to be included on this hugely important list from the World Monuments Fund. We want to thank the WMF for honoring us and we look forward to working with them to help move our preservation projects forward,” said Jim Hycner, chairman of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation (CTRC). “This recognition adds to the amazing momentum the Terminal is seeing right now, including strong community support, the Urban Land Institute study and backing from such leaders as Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Howard Zemsky from Empire State Development. We could not be more excited for the Terminal’s future.”

Here is the Facebook video of the announcement:

From the WMF’s website:

2018 World Monuments Watch

The Art-Deco-style Buffalo Central Terminal opened in 1929, a time when Buffalo was one of the largest and most economically vibrant cities in North America. Prior to the construction of the new terminal, Buffalo’s downtown was crisscrossed by fourteen railroad lines served by five terminals, leading to congestion, delays, and air pollution. The new terminal, built in East Buffalo, away from the central business district, consolidated all passenger traffic in a single facility. The brick and limestone building complex was designed by the firm of Fellheimer and Wagner, specialists in railroad architecture who were responsible for many successful designs throughout North America. At Buffalo, Fellheimer and Wagner designed dazzling interior spaces with Art Deco decoration, from stylized floral details to crystalline light fixtures and geometrically patterned terrazzo floors.

Even though it served Buffalo for many decades, the terminal never reached its full capacity. Instead, beginning in the 1950s, construction of the interstate highway system and the growth of the airline industry led to a decrease in passenger traffic that was impossible to reverse. The result was a slow decline for the terminal, as more and more spaces fell into disuse. The last train left the station in 1979, and the building remained shuttered for almost two decades until it was purchased by its current not-for-profit owner, the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation. The volunteer-led group envisions the redevelopment of the complex for the benefit of its immediate neighborhood and the city of Buffalo, a project that could require an investment as high as $200 million. Developer interest materialized in 2017, but an agreement failed to be reached. Meanwhile, in April 2017, a committee charged with selecting a location for a new train station in Buffalo decided against reusing the Buffalo Central Terminal for this purpose. More recently, a June 2017 reuse study by the Urban Land Institute pointed again to the potential of the terminal building to spearhead the revitalization of its Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood. The 2018 World Monuments Watch calls for investment in the redevelopment of the Buffalo Central Terminal in order to give new life to this architectural landmark.

Full List – 2018 Watch Sites

  1. Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico
  2. Government House, St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
  3. Sirius Building, Millers Point, Sydney, Australia
  4. Ramal Talca-Constitución, Talca Province, Chile
  5. Grand Theater, Prince Kung’s Mansion, Beijing, China
  6. Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, Alexandria, Egypt
  7. Takiyyat of al-Gulshani, Cairo, Egypt
  8. Potager du Roi, Versailles, France
  9. Post-Independence Architecture of Delhi, India
  10. Al-Hadba’ Minaret, Mosul, Iraq
  11. Lifta, Jerusalem, Israel
  12. Amatrice, Italy
  13. Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium, Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan
  14. Jewish Quarter of Essaouira, Morocco
  15. Sukur Cultural Landscape, Madagali Local Government Area, Nigeria
  16. Historic Karachi, Pakistan
  17. Cerro de Oro, Cañete Valley, Peru
  18. Tebaida Leonesa, El Bierzo, León, Spain
  19. Souk of Aleppo, Aleppo, Syria
  20. Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, Thailand
  21. Blackpool Piers, Blackpool, United Kingdom
  22. Buffalo Central Terminal, Buffalo, New York, United States
  23. Alabama Civil Rights Sites, Alabama, United States
  24. Old City of Ta’izz, Ta’izz, Yemen
  25. Matobo Hills Cultural Landscape, Matobo, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe

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