Richardson site up for historic study


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Business First of Buffalo – 12:34 PM EDT Wednesday, August 22, 2007
by James Fink

Calling it a major step in the redevelopment of the historic H.H. Richardson Towers complex, the Richardson Center Corp. has retained a nationally recognized architecture and engineering tandem to develop a “Historic Structures Report.”

The report could serve as the blueprint for the oft-discussed plans to renovate the vacant, late 1800s Richardson towers that dominate the Delaware District skyline.

Goody Clancy, a Boston-based firm that has overseen the restoration of several other Richardson-designed buildings including Boston’s fabled Trinity Church, and New York’s Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, the same firm that oversaw renovations of another Richardson project — the New York State Capitol Building in Albany, will jointly work on the report. The firms were selected from a competitive process run by the Richardson Center Corp. Financial terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

“We have a project of national significance and consequently we attracted firms from throughout the country,” said local architect Clinton Brown, head of the Richardson Center Corp. selection committee. “Buffalo’s historic architecture is well known and highly regarded throughout the preservation community. The opportunity to work on a H.H. Richardson-designed national historic landmark is a major draw, clearly.”

The Richardson Center Corp. was created last year by then-Gov. George Pataki to oversee and chart the future of the acclaimed, but long-vacant twin towers. Henry Hobson Richardson designed the towers in 1870 for the former Buffalo State Hospital.

Goody Clancy and Simpson Gumpertz & Heger will conduct a series of interviews and public sessions that will provide input for the report. The complex has the potential to serve as a major economic engine for the Delaware District and Elmwood District, once fully restored. The report is due back by late this year or early winter.

“The ‘Historic Structures Report’ is the foundation for all future work in the redevelopment of a historic building,” said Jean Carroon, Goody Clancy principal preservation architect.

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