Niagara Gazette — Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has torn down a historic building on its 10th Street campus, but has no plans to develop the plot where the building stood.
Demolition contractors from the Niagara Falls construction company Regional Environmental Demolition Inc. took down the 96-year-old Evelyn Apartments, once home to former Gazette publisher Hamilton B. Mizer and Lily Rush, the first woman to earn a master’s degree from Niagara University, after being hired by the hospital.
The company was granted a demolition permit from the city’s department of Code Enforcement on Feb. 15 and took down the apartments and another house on the site that did not have historic landmark status on Feb. 18 and 19.
Pat Bradley, a Memorial spokesperson, said the building was dilapidated and a danger to the neighborhood.
“We did what we thought was the best thing for the neighborhood,” Bradley said. “We didn’t think it was worth taking a chance.”
The apartments were protected by a local landmark designation set by the Niagara Falls Commission on Historic Preservation in 2009 after a long campaign to gain the designation by former owner Evelyn Pullo, for whom the building is named.
The commission voted to deny the hospital’s request for a certificate of appropriateness — the document necessary to demolish a designated landmark — in June. The Niagara Falls City Council then voted to override the commission’s denial, granting the hospital the certificate of appropriateness, meaning that the hospital, which bought the building from Pullo in July 2011, was free to take the building down.
The hospital was seeking to demolish the building in order to make way for a proposed primary health center to be run by Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc., the not-for-profit that operates Community Health Center of Niagara out of the Hamilton B. Mizer building next door.