From an abandoned train station to a cultural center

Buffalo Central Railway Station (New York, USA) 20 years ago was one of the largest abandoned buildings in the world. The desolation continued for several decades. Now it is being restored for public funds to be converted into a community center.

Buffalo Station was built by the New York Central Railroad and opened in 1929. It was intended to serve more than 200 trains and 10 thousand passengers a day. A distinctive feature was its impressive size: the office tower includes 17 floors, its height reaches 83 m. At the same time, the station could accommodate more than 3.2 thousand passengers.

Buffalo Central Train Station
Buffalo Central Train Station

The building was built in the popular architectural style of Art Deco.

The railway station operated for 50 years until it was officially closed in 1979. The reason was the decline of industry in the city and, as a consequence, the rapid outflow of the population. In just 20 years (from 1960 to 1980), the number of residents decreased by 1.5 times. From a city of half a million, Buffalo droped to 300 thousand.

After the closure, the station buildings were in disrepair for some time. Until the facility was purchased for a symbolic $ 1 by the non-profit organization Central Terminal Restoration Corp in 1997. The station reopened in 2003 for sightseeing tours and social events. Up to 30 mass actions were held per year.

The efforts of the new owner of the station did not go unnoticed. Empire State Development, which is engaged in the development and support of the state’s infrastructure, decided to allocate $ 5 million for the repair of the terminal. In the summer of 2020, the contractor CJS Architects announced the start of work. According to it, builders are engaged in the repair of the roof, first of all.

Buffalo Central Train Station
The office tower is over 80 m high / During one of the events, 2017

The planned works have passed the stages of coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office and the city department of environmental protection. The concept for the preservation of the station was presented by the Urban Land Institute. Experts recommended refurbishing the main lobby, former waiting rooms and restaurants. It is planned to hold concerts, performances, festivals, celebrations, charity dinners, conferences, etc here. At the same time, at the first stage, it is planned to equip a restaurant with an area of almost 2.5 thousand square meters.

In addition, local artist support organization Arts Services Inc. holds a competition for the design of the territory adjacent to the station for the period of renovation (3-5 years). The winner, to be announced by the spring of 2021, will receive a $ 9,000 grant.

Railway magazine “Railway Supply”


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