Allied Mills: Where There’s a Mill, There’s a Way

Hello Buffalo! Welcome to The Preservation Pursuit, a monthly spotlight series that showcases the triumphs and pitfalls of historic preservation in the 716. Each article in this series from Preservation Buffalo Niagara will highlight a specific structure, show you the process of preserving buildings, and tell you how you can help. 

Why is this important?

Preservation is not only about saving old buildings; it is also about creating new opportunities for growth, development, and innovation. By preserving and reusing historic structures like the Allied Mills Grain Elevator Complex, we can revitalize the local economy, create jobs, attract new businesses, and enhance our quality of life.

The Allied Mills Complex is a visual landmark of the Valley neighborhood and part of Buffalo’s unrivaled collection of grain elevators that make up the established character of our city’s waterfront. This grain elevator complex, located north of Red Jacket Park at One Buffalo River Place, is a rare example of early 20th century industrial architecture and it tells the story of Buffalo’s vital role as shipping hub in the national grain trade. This grain elevator complex is not only a historic asset, but also a potential catalyst for economic development. The Allied Mills Complex can be transformed into a mixed-use development that can provide housing, retail, and cultural spaces for the community.

Photograph courtesy of Chris Hawley

Silo City and the Kreiner Malt House & Grain Elevator, both successfully rehabilitated, are great examples of adaptive reuse. Adaptive reuse is the process of transforming a historic building by creating new functions to meet the needs of the present day. It is a sustainable and innovative way of preserving the past while creating new opportunities for our community’s future. Both projects demonstrate how rehabilitating historic structures can create economic engines that generate income, activity, and progress in the City of Buffalo.

What are we doing to preserve it?

In July, the current owner of the Allied Mills Complex filed a request to demolish several structures on site. Any demolition on site would compromise the complex’s eligibility for the National Registry, making historic tax credits for rehabilitation no longer available. In response, Preservation Buffalo Niagara has nominated the grain elevator complex as a local landmark and submitted it to the City of Buffalo’s Preservation Board for further review. Local landmarking is a legal tool that protects historic buildings from inappropriate alterations or demolition, providing a pathway towards rehabilitation and reuse.

Throughout this somewhat-lengthy process, we’ve spoken with public officials, met with The Valley Block Club, and initiated a letter-writing campaign. So far, we’ve received dozens of letters of support from the local community! The application for local landmark status was approved by the Preservation Board at their meeting on September 25th, 2023. The next step is to present the case to the Common Council, which will vote on the complex’s final designation on November 8th, 2023 at 1pm, and we need your help!

You can view PBN’s Local Landmark Application here

In Vers une Architecture, Le Corbusier praised the silos’ “stark simplicity and unadorned geometric shape” describing American grain elevators and factories as “the magnificent first-fruits of the new age.” 

How can you help? 

We need your voice to make sure that the Allied Mills complex is protected and preserved for future generations!  You can show your support for this preservation project by sending letters or emails to your Councilmembers and Preservation Buffalo Niagara, or by attending the public hearing at City Hall on November 8th, at 1pm. 

Please write a letter of support with your name, address, and any personal comments you wish to add, and send it to the following email addresses:

Preservation Buffalo Niagara:

Buffalo Common Council:

You can also mail your letter to:

Buffalo Common Council

65 Niagara Square

Room #1413, City Hall

Buffalo, NY 14202

You can find your district council member here, along with their contact information. Please send your letter as soon as possible, preferably before November 7th, 2023. Written comments must be submitted and received at least 24 hours before the meeting. Every letter counts and makes a difference in saving our historic resources!

Experience Preservation in Action

Preservation Buffalo Niagara invites you to join us for the “Elevating Buffalo” series, where we will explore these iconic structures and witness adaptive reuse in real-time. The series includes a preservation exploration of Silo City and Silos at Elk Street, two examples of former industrial sites that have been transformed into spaces for art, culture, education, and business.

Learn how preservationists, developers, and community members are working together to save these landmarks from demolition and give them new life. Don’t miss this opportunity to see how Buffalo is reclaiming its legacy and reimagining its skyline!

 You can book your tickets here.

Together, we can preserve Buffalo’s past and shape its future.

The post Allied Mills: Where There’s a Mill, There’s a Way appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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