Going Downtown – City Hall

When we found the Green Monster on fixBuffalo in a map of planned demolitions last February, we decided to move quickly.  Of course, many houses on the demolition list in Buffalo linger there for months and years, but Murphy’s Law applies to bureaucracy too, and sometimes things move quickly exactly when you do not want them to.  We did not want our hopeful future home to meet the dozer on some Friday afternoon, so we went to City Hall.  As a rule, the way to get things done in the tower of power is to go there and knock on doors.  When you walk in the front door, you will find several signs listing the offices and their locations, as well as an information desk.  Make use of these, since it is a big place to navigate by serendipity alone.  Our first stop was the Real Estate office, where we got basic property info and scheduled a walk-through of the property.  Fortunately, we already knew the house was city-owned and we had brought proof of funds of $5,000, which is required to get a walk-through of a city-owned house.  The funds can be a bank account balance or a line of credit, but without proof they will not let you in the house.

After scheduling the walk-through, we went down the Demolitions Office, which is part of the Permits and Inspections Services department.  Follow the link and check the bar on the right for names, emails and phone numbers, should you need them.  At Demolitions, we asked that a hold be put on the demolition, which prevented the demolition job from being bid out.  Once the City puts a proposed demolition out for bids and a bid from a demolition contractor is accepted, it gets much more difficult to stop the machines.  So do not wait.

By going to City Hall, we accomplished in a morning what easily could have taken weeks.  It can be difficult to schedule, since City Hall is open at the same hours that you might be working hard to put away money for a repair budget, but I highly recommend the physical approach.


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