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Saturday, April 8, 2017

News From Home: The Nicholaus Building in Downtown Schenectady Is Gone...

I planned to do an update on the ongoing saga of Nicholaus Building, the historic building at the corner of State Street and Erie Boulevard in downtown Schenectady after returning home this spring. Built alongside  the Erie Canal in 1820 and "updated" in 1901, it housed a series of businesses.  Many remember the Nicholaus Restaurant fondly.

Though beautiful, and very old, the Nicholaus Building was never placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.  There has never been a group of people dedicated to its preservation.

Why do an update on a building?  Here's the backstory.... A little over a year ago, the adjacent Olender Building was demolished by a series of contractors.  Cracks started to open up in the walls and floors of the building Nicholaus Building on April 1, 2016.   An inspection determined that the building was unsafe.  Tenants living in the building were evicted and the Thai Thai Bistro Restaurant was hastily closed.

An April 5, 2017 Daily Gazette article stated that multiple lawsuits are delaying any type of action on the structurally fragile Nicholaus Building.  Part of my  update was to photograph the building a year after it became a vacant shell, and to look for updates on the pending lawsuits.

I took this photo of the
Nicholaus Building

The lawsuit overview from 2016:  The lawsuits involving the contractors and subcontractors who demolished and removed the Olender Building looks like a circular firing squad.  The owners of the Nicholaus Building are suing the City of Schenectady.  The owner of the Thai Thai Bistro has a lawsuit against the city stating that its negligence in inspection of the demolition process of the Olender Building caused damage to her business.

Also from 2016, the city's Building Inspector issued building code violations against the Nicholaus Building owners for not responding to demands to repair their building. 

A whole lot of nothing is going on, but has the building changed in just over a year? 

And then it happened...  Just two days later, on April 7, 2017, an inspection determined that the Nicholaus Building was ready to collapse.

At 10:00 pm on April 7, 2016.
demolition began.

Times Union Photo

The pavilion roof that topped
 round tower was removed.

Daily Gazette Photo
Channel 10 News shows the debris pile after
 the Nicholaus Building was razed.

My son, Adam, took this photo
of the empty corner of
State Street & Erie Boulevard
today, April 8, 2017.

The Nicholaus Building's long history has come to an end.

Litigation has not.  Here's a list of current lawsuits over damage done to the Nicholaus Building.  The press is trying to figure out why Schenectady lost this beautiful, old building.

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