Statement issued Monday:
Fort Wayne, October 11, 2010: ARCH has learned that demolition has begun for the former New York Central Freight Station, at the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Clinton Street. This was an irreplaceable community landmark, and its loss is a blow to downtown revitalization.
This building, which had been on ARCH's Endangered List since 1999, represents a rare type of railroad building, and one that was ideally suited for redevelopment. Freight stations such as the New York Central have been redeveloped as farmers markets, as the center for a themed shopping area, as festival marketplaces and as the center for a system of urban greenways. The New York Central Freight Station could have served such a purpose in Fort Wayne.
The Freight Station had been determined to be historically significant and eligible for the National Register by several local, regional and national agencies and organizations. As a building already identified as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, tax credits were available for commercial rehabilitation.
When the owner applied for a demolition permit in April, 2010, ARCH issued a press statement asking the owners of the building to reconsider the demolition of this irreplaceable landmark, and offered to provide an independent engineering assessment of the structure to determine its condition. The owner refused ARCH's offer for the independent assessment, but was willing to discuss possible options for the building with several developers, business owners and local government. Several meetings were held during the summer of 2010, and ARCH was told to be "optimistic" regarding the future of the building.
The loss of this building subtracts one more piece of Fort Wayne's historic legacy, and makes all of us poorer for its loss.