Last business owner evicted at Elmwood/Forest

Elmwood/Forest Corner Now Completely Vacant

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The last remaining business owner was evicted Thursday morning from the corner of Forest and Elmwood avenues, paving the way for Chason Affinity Companies to demolish 14 properties and replace them with a $30 million multi-use complex.

Clarence Carnahan, the owner of ENS Signs, sought a court order to remain in his building for a few more weeks as he completed his move to a new location. On Wednesday, however, City Housing Court Judge Patrick Carney denied that request for an extension and ordered his eviction from the property.

Carnahan thought he had 72 hours to leave the premises, but on Thursday morning, he said city marshals arrived at his store to execute the eviction warrant.

"They locked me out of my tools, my equipment, my laptop's in there, computers, important papers, what sense did it make? It doesn't make any sense," Carnahan said. "I'm trying to get out! Here they are changing locks, got the city marshals."

Court documents reviewed by 2 On Your Side indicate that Carnahan had originally agreed to leave the property by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31. Carnahan said he needed more time, though, which is why he tried to continue fighting for an extension in court.

An executive for Chason Affinity Companies told 2 On Your Side that the judge made the correct decision, and he pointed out that it was Carnahan himself who agreed to the Oct. 31 deadline. 

The refusal by Carnahan complicated efforts for asbestos removal in preparation for demolition. Surrounding properties on Forest and Elmwood already have a chain-link fence placed out front in anticipation of that work.

The demolition is still facing a last-ditch legal effort from a group of neighbors and community activists. Their legal proceeding to halt the demolition was denied last week, but they plan to explore all avenues through the appellate court. Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D-Buffalo) also sent a letter to the city, asking for it to halt any demolition. 

Carnahan supports those efforts.

"It's the Nightmare on Elmwood, knocking these buildings down," Carnahan said. "It means so much to so many people."

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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