Bethlehem Steel North Administration Building

New Information from the
Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group
Meagan Baco, Lesley Horowitz, Dana Saylor, David Torke
ImSteelStanding.org
Contact member Dana Saylor
716-218-8525 or Savebethsteel@gmail.com
Bethlehem Steel Administration Building
Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group
ImSteelStanding.org
Table of Contents
I..............................Press Release
II.....................................Timeline
III.........................Important Points
IV......................................Pictures
V..............Excerpt of New Report
VI...............................Full Report
* * * FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE * * *
Contact Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group (LIHG)- Dana Saylor (716)218-8525
ImSteelStanding.org
PREVIOUSLY WITHHELD STRUCTURAL REPORT UNCOVERED BY
CITIZENS: GROUP SUES TO STOP DEMOLITION ON BETHLEHEM
STEEL ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
The 1901 Bethlehem Steel Administration Building is structurally sound, according to an August
engineering report which was withheld from the courts by the City of Lackawanna, and by building
owner Gateway Trade and Steven Detwiler.
The report, dated August 2012, included a complete walk-through of the building by an independent
structural engineering firm which counters the City of Lackawanna's claims that the building is a threat
to public safety.
Local citizens, through repeated Freedom of Information Act requests, acquired a copy of the report
which includes the following:
- “The exterior walls are plumb and are not bulged or leaning.”
- “We did not observe large areas of the floor or roof structure that appeared to be on the verge of
collapse.”
- “We believe the overall building structure to be sound and not at imminent risk of collapse.”
“The Mayor of Lackawanna and Gateway Trade failed to produce this engineering report because it
goes directly against the claims of the City's code enforcer, Steve Bremer who is not an engineer and
has no such degree,” said Danielle Huber, a Lackawanna resident who has been leading the effort.
Dana Saylor, another local citizen said, "The demolition which is underway was allowed to move
forward due to an intentional cover-up.”
The Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group will file a lawsuit with the City of Lackawanna Court on
Friday, February 8th, calling for Gateway Trade to cease all demolition activities until an investigation
can take place. Well-known attorney Richard Berger, whose previous work includes environmental
justice around Love Canal issues in Niagara Falls, and various preservation projects around Buffalo,
will file on behalf of LIHG.
Numerous developers, architects and consultants have expressed interest in the building, which is,
according to distinguished architectural scholar Dr. Francis R. Kowsky, “one of the greatest
architectural treasures in all of Western New York...the structure possesses high artistic value and is
associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.”
LIHG would like to complete an adaptive reuse study involving one the nation's most important and
neglected architectural and cultural assets. The purpose is to create jobs and facilitate economic
development along the waterfront.
###
Timeline
1899: Lackawanna Iron & Steel Co. began moving from Scranton, PA to Stony Point, NY, Town of W. Seneca
1900: Lansing C. Holden, AIA member, drew architectural plans for Administration Building
1901: Administration Building completed including rear laboratory, company town launched
1910: South wing in rear added
1919: North wing and northern 1/3 addition to facade added (approximately)
1922: Bethlehem Steel acquires Lackawanna Iron & Steel
1982: Bethlehem Steel closes Lackawanna plant
1983: Richard & Patricia Garman of R&P Oak Hill Construction buy former Bethlehem Steel site, form
Gateway Trade Co.
2000: New Enterprise Stone & Lime of PA acquires Gateway Trade; sends Steven Detwiler Orchard Park, NY to
manage.
2010: Gateway Trade applies for RESTORE NY grant of $800,000 through Empire State Development Corp
(ESDC), purportedly to “assist with the abatement of hazardous materials allowing the City and owners to move
forward with a structural analysis and reuse plan to examine possible alternatives to demolition.”
2011: $300,000 of the grant was disbursed for use at Gateway's “Corcordia Building”.
2012: ESDC officials reminded Gateway that the remaining $500,000 grant awaited their project scoping and
progress on the Bethlehem Steel Administration Building reuse (February).
2012: Gateway wrote to ESDC with their intention of using the RESTORE funds for demolition, never having
completed the agreed-upon reuse study (May 7).
2012: ESDC wrote Gateway, telling them they must secure State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
permission before using RESTORE funds for demolition.
2012: Gateway commissioned a structural engineering report by Parker Bay which claimed the building was not
structurally sound; they forwarded this to SHPO for approval (May 29).
2012: SHPO denied Gateway permission to demolish, based on insufficient evidence. They recommended four
firms to complete a second engineering report (June 11)
2012: Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt of Syracuse sent an engineer to produce a report, made from outside the fence
surrounding the building. This was forwarded to SHPO but again rejected due to insufficient evidence (June 26).
2012: KHH sent another engineer, who was allowed within the building, accompanied by company
representatives and SHPO. Found that the building was indeed structurally sound overall with no evidence of
imminent collapse. (August)
2012: Gateway pursues demolition despite lack of RESTORE NY funding (May)
Bethlehem Steel Administration Building
Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group
www.ImSteelStanding.org
Important Points
- Gateway Trade pursued demolition even while they were still in talks with the State Historic
Preservation Office to gain RESTORE NY funds for asbestos abatement/adaptive reuse.
- The structural engineering report of August 2, 2012 states that the building is structurally sound.
This is the only time Gateway Trade allowed an engineer inside the building to view its
condition. Previous negative reports were made after the building was viewed from a distance,
by firms with a possible financial interest in demolition, and are therefore unreliable.
- "The blast furnaces, tall chimneys and grimy buildings are gone, and some would say good
riddance. But the elegant and dignified Administration Building, which has stood since the
earliest days of the company, should be seen as a symbol honoring all those generations of men
and women who worked so hard to support their families and to raise their children to find their
own successes and accomplishments. There could be no more beautiful reminder and
memorial." - Mary Horowitz
- “The building can and should be part of the complete revitalization of the the Lake Erie
waterfront.” - The Board of Directors of the Steel Plant Museum of Western New York, in a
letter to the Mayor of Lackawanna
- The building is eligible for the National Register of Historic places and 40% tax credits
- Location near millions of infrastructure improvements, Fuhrmann Blvd, Ship Canal, beach, etc.
- Rerouting of the railroad for new businesses opening on adjacent sites- they'll need office
support.
- Success of the Steel Stacks (former steel plant) arts center in Bethlehem, PA
BETHLEHEM STEEL NORTH OFFICE
JANUARY 2013
COURTESY JERRY ‘ZEPHYR’
COURTESY CHUCK LACHIUSA
BETHLEHEM STEEL NORTH OFFICE HISTORICAL PHOTO
COURTESY OF STEEL PLANT MUSEUM
BETHLEHEM STEEL NORTH OFFICE DEMOLITION
JUNE 2012
FEBRUARY 2013
Bethlehem Steel Administration Building
Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group
ImSteelStanding.org
Report Excerpt
Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt August 2, 2012
- “The scope of this structural engineering report is to update and supplement our June 28 report
with observations made after reviewing the building from within the space.”
- “We observed the property from exterior to interior, basement to 3rd floor.”
- “The facade of the 1901 building consists of brick and carved stone and appears to be in fairly
good condition considering the lack of maintenance.”
- “The steel beams have surface rust however we did not observe major scaling or failure of the
major structural elements.”
- “The exterior walls are plumb and are not bulged or leaning.”
- “We did not observe large areas of the floor or roof structure that appeared to be on the verge of
collapse.”
- “We believe the overall building structure to be sound and not at imminent risk of collapse.”

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