The Buffalo Gas Light Company: Now

Now… I work in the building that has been incorporated into the facade. That’s right, the façade of the Buffalo Gas Light Company was purchased, along with the brown-fields behind it, by HealthNow New York Inc., where its headquarters now lie. The $105 million project included a 15.5 acre brown-field clean up, prior to the actual construction of the building. The ground was found to be heavily contaminated with residue from the 19th century coal to gas process. The site stood vacant for decades and required the largest brownfield clean-up in the history of the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Front view of HealthNow New York Inc. headquarters

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, the old Buffalo Gas Light Company complex was used for storage and parking. It was later demolished in 2000, and had remained an empty brown-field until the land was purchased in 2004 by HealthNow New York Inc.. The construction project was complete in September 2007, opening its doors to the headquarters’ nearly 1,300 employees. Prior considerations for this site included a youth hockey complex in the late 1990’s, which would have been partially funded by then-Sabres goaltender, Dominic Hasek.

In my previous post, I mentioned that The Buffalo Gas Light Company was located at the edge of the waterfront and Erie Canal, making it easily accessible for unloading coal off of boats. The building was no more than 10 yards away from the loading docks off of the Erie Canal. Today, the Erie Canal has been covered up and no longer runs through downtown Buffalo. In fact, the path of the Erie Canal has been (literally) overshadowed by the 190. The path that this thruway takes along the waterfront was constructed directly above the path of the pre-existing Erie Canal. Today’s distance of the building from the water reveals the great extent to which the waterfront has been filled in over the years – approximately a quarter mile.

The Buffalo Gas Light Company’s facade resembles a once-prosperous business in Buffalo, and also incorporates the history of the Erie Canal and the city at its peak. Because of this, the preservation of this facade and its incorporation into a newly constructed building reflects the ability and desire of developers to preserve and revitalize Buffalo’s history.

Visit The Buffalo Gas Light Company:Then to find out the history of this company and landmark.

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