And so it begins… Buffalove Development is Born!

On October 29th, Jason and I attended the In Rem foreclosure Auction with hopes to leave with a few historic gems that are in need for some serious TLC. We left the auction with four purchase papers in hand for ownership of four properties on the West Side of Buffalo – one vacant lot, one double and three singles. Whoa, right?

Our goal is quite simple. To invest in the neighborhood that we love and to provide an affordable, sustainable and overall solid product that raises the bar in Buffalo. Jason and I have a lot of long-term goals which you can imagine are wacky/dreamy/awesome but this is really the start of the bigger picture for us. (more on that discussion later!)

I don’t want to get too much into the process right now because everything could flip upside down tomorrow but I wanted to blog about it since everyone is asking. As of today,  we are still running on excitement and trying to figure out the next steps. Unfortunately there is no guide-book towards buying properties at foreclosure auctions and we have come to realize that each situation is different.

We already have questions coming to mind. Keep in mind, foreclosure auction houses don’t come with keys.. so how do we get in if it’s occupied? What if we think it’s vacant but we think someone is squatting in there? How do we get the city water authority to shut off the water when we don’t have the deed yet?

A bigger question in my mind – why aren’t these auctions held in the early Spring or Summer when people have the ability to work on them during warmer months? Unfortunately, we will be lucky if we get title before January. It would be more ideal if we had time before winter hits to weatherize, take care of roof leaks and get the rehab ball rolling. Instead, we have to hope the previous owner is paying utilities, that a pipe doesn’t burst, squatters aren’t sleeping in them..  etc… there are a lot of unknowns and fingers crossed kind of moments.

Well, I am sure we will have a million questions. Perhaps I should start a journal? Maybe I will use this blog instead. More to come. Stay tuned!

Buffalove Development is Born!

With Buffalove,

Bernice

New Good Hood Article – BuffaLOVE Our Vacant Lots

This is my newest article in the Good Neighborhood called – 7 ways to love up vacant lots across the City.

With a great deal of vacant lots going unsold at the In Rem Foreclosure Auction this week, I thought it would be fun to post some creative ideas on how to reuse our vacant lots. I have been collecting ideas (see bocce article!) and photos all summer of vacant lots and these 7 only scratch the surface but they seemed the most practical and applicable to our rust belt landscape.

Big high fives go to both the West and East Sides for thinking outside of the box with our vacant lots. As I wrote and did a little more research, I became even more impressed with the amount of effort there is out there.

Note – these ideas do not apply to everywhere and anywhere. These are just ideas, thoughts and examples of what Cities are doing with them. I love the idea of semi permanent infill, its permanent in the way that it helps to create neighborhood activity and increase value but also removable just  in case houses and other structures want to go there one day.

If you have other ideas – send them my way! Berniceradle@gmail.com

http://www.thegoodneighborhood.com/2012/11/02/bernice-buffalove-7-ideas-to-love-up-vacant-lots/

One of My Favorites: The Market Arcade

The Market Arcade is easily one of the coolest buildings in Buffalo and home to Preservation Buffalo Niagara!

Check it out next time you’re downtown. The inside is like a mall style building with art galleries, visitor information and more.

It was built with a light well for a roof is a wonderful example of passive lighting, something we see in historic buildings which is a feature we rarely use, design or install.

20121101-233825.jpg

Bills Fan Zombie

Being a zombie bills fan was a fun way to express Buffalove at Halloween parties this weekend. I’m looking forward to the Witches Ball tonight at the Lafayette for the final Halloween party of the year!

We waaanttt plaaayyoofffssss…. squuiisshh daaa fiiiishhhh… muaahaahaww.

Finding Beauty, Hope and Opportunity in Buffalo’s Urban Decay

The slideshow below shows off what two hours of urban exploration around Buffalo will get you. Its fun to explore,wander and dive into these structures and places and to bring these places into the public eye once in a while.

We all have different definitions of beauty. However, regardless, we are fortunate to have so many structures still standing, still waiting for their next purpose in their long lives. We are lucky to have had the best of the best in Buffalo at the turn of the century, a time that still dominates our lives through our building stock, Buffalo heritage and values. We had the BEST architects, construction workers, organizations and power people fighting to grow Buffalo to be the greatest city on earth.

Today, we have the relics of the past and the promise of a better future through recent growth and expansion. We have weathered the storm of the white flight and we are now seeing the return of families and businesses come into our city core.

As we grow, we must continue to preserve what made Buffalo – Buffalo.  We can do that through preservation,  rehabilitation, and through recreation. We can also build new alongside of our historic giants, incorporating the future into the past.  Its not rocket science, many cities – New York, Chicago and Toronto are doing it. We can too.

Saving beautiful buildings does not define preservation. Preservation goes beyond the beauty and aims to preserve history and importance to a person, place or thing. The chicken wing is not beautiful (although very tasty!) yet if the anchor bar closed, I am sure people would want to see it stay opened and take action to see it saved. Same goes for the Buffalo Bills. Right now many people think we are at risk of loosing them. The increased demand and attention from citizens and politicians for a better stadium is actually in an effort to preserve the Bills because the investment will hopefully keep the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo. Think about this – You cannot walk down the street without seeing Bills memorabilia. The team, regardless of success in the season is important to us and to Buffalo as a whole. So guess what? When the time comes, we will fight to preserve the Buffalo Bills.

My friends, the same attitude should be given for our churches, buildings and historic artifacts. Who cares if Trico isn’t as beautiful as City Hall? It still demands the same respect. In fact, day light factories are dwindling these days, making such a handsome building even more valuable. And what about the grain elevators? You don’t think there are a bunch of hipsters that want to party, watch shows, hang out or work in a grain elevator? There are. And taking a leap will attract more people to our City. Baltimore turned one grain elevator into condos which has been a super successful project. We can create the demand. Rick Smith, owner of Silo City has shown Buffalo that people do have interest in the grain elevators. Rick Smith is creating the buzz, capturing the audience and helping people across WNY find the beauty in the urban decay through events, tours and investment.

These photos represent opportunity, hope and a beauty that very few cities have. Our urban decay and density of the past will be our future. We need to build on what we have instead of destroying it. We are lucky to have these gentle giants waiting patiently for new life. We are fortunate to have a growing number of citizens finding interest in our urban environment. Preservation mixed with development can and will happen, we just have to continue to demand the best, just like our past Buffalonians did 100 years ago.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Event Alert! Design Circuit – The Situation is Now: An Architectural Panel Discussion on 10/18/12

If you have interest in learning and discussing the future of the Ohio Street Corridor, I would highly recommend you going to the Design Circuit event on Thursday, October 18th. For more information about it, click here.
Why is this event  important?
The Ohio Street Corridor has an incredible amount of potential and will see a lot of change over the next 10 years as the Buffalo River corridor continued to grow and expand. We, the citizens of Buffalo can help decide the outcome of the potential will be. This is our chance to demand, discuss and share ideas to create and facilitate growth and the success that we deserve!
From the website – http://www.designcircuit.org/

The Situation is Now: Architectural Panel Discussion.

A one night panel discussion set to explore the relevance and importance of Ohio Street, Canalside, and Outer Harbor Development in the context of the current state of Buffalo’s evolution, from the point of view of a city planner, journalist, developer, architect, artist, and the everyday user. There is boundless potential for Ohio Street, and our goal is to facilitate discussion, share ideas, and promote activity that enables Buffalo growth.

Moderator:
Robert Shibley, UB School of Architecture – Moderator

Panelists:
Prof. Henry Taylor, UB Center for Urban Studies; www.centerforurbanstudies.com
Laura Kelly – Old 1st Ward Community Association; http://old1stward.com
Sam Hoyt, ECHDC; www.eriecanalharbor.com
Mark Goldman, Community Leader; http://buffaloah.com/h/goldman/goldman.html
Mike Puma, Buffalo Rising, Journalist;  www.preservationstudios.com
Chris Hawley, City of Buffalo;http://www.ci.buffalo.ny.us/Home/City_Departments/Office_of_Strategic_Planning
William Haskas, HD-Systems, Designer; www.hd-sys.net

Location:
First Ward Community Center
62 Republic Street
Buffalo, NY 14204

Date and Time:
Thursday, October 18, 2012
7-8:30pm
Free and Open to the Public

WNY Solar & Green Building Tour – Saturday, October 13th!

EVENT ALERT!!!

This has been my baby for 2 years and I encourage everyone who likes buildings, sustainability and saving money to go and see at least ONE building/home. DO IT.

  • Have you ever had an interest in solar, geothermal or other neat renewable technologies?
  • Have you heard about houses being made from straw bale?
  • What about seeing how historic buildings can become more energy efficient?
On Saturday, October 13th, the 17th annual Solar & Green Building Tour of WNY is happening from 10am – 4pm. The event is brought to you by WNY Sustainable Energy Association. This is not a regular tour, this is an open house. We give you a list of all the sites and you can pick whatever interests you! The event is free, open to the public and no registration is required. All sites are open from 10am – 4pm unless noted otherwise.
The kickoff event starts at 9:30am on Saturday morning. We will be giving awards, prizes and other fun stuff at Hispanics United of Buffalo, 254 Virginia St. Then you are free to go wherever! A limited amount of weatherization kits and NFTA Metro Day passes will be available for people who attend the kickoff event.
Why is the Solar & Green Building Tour important?
The Solar and Green Building Tour is an event that educates, inspires and encourages people to think, act and be more “green” in their daily lives.
This tour is the only tour in the region that opens homes up for you to touch, feel and absorb these technologies. The homeowners are there – you can speak to them directly about their experiences, troubles and ask any questions you may have.
The event features a wide variety of green building concepts from solar, historic adaptive reuse buildings, geothermal, green roofs, LEED certified buildings, net zero houses and more.
www.wnysea.com <— For all sites, details & info
www.energysage.com <— For a complete list of sites across New York State, searchable via ZIP CODE.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Exploring Buffalo 10/6/2012

We spent some time showing a portlander around Buffalo today. It was fun! We now have one more buffalo lover in the world!

20121006-151722.jpg

20121006-151731.jpg

20121006-151740.jpg

20121006-151746.jpg

20121006-152112.jpg

20121006-152120.jpg

30 Under 30!!

Meeting Time.

I am excited to announce that I have been selected to be part of Buffalo Business First inaugural class of 30 Under 30! The publication is set for October 12th, so keep an eye out for it.

Many thanks goes out to the wonderful Chris Hawley for nominating me. He continues to support me and my adventures in every way possible. Thank you, Chris!

Here is the web link with all of the other young professionals selected. My friends Meagan Baco, Jim Simon and Matt Conners were chosen as well! Congrats everyone!