Martin House, Graycliff Receive Buffalo Billion II Allocations
By James Fink – Reporter, Buffalo Business First
Nov 20, 2017, 12:08pm
A pair of Frank LLoyd Wright-designed landmarks - both of which were constructed for the Darwin Martin family - have received a combined $8.975 million in state funding.
The allocation, made through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion II economic development initiative, will aid ongoing restoration works at the Darwin MartinHouse complex in Buffalo and Derby’s Graycliff Estate — the Wright-designed summer home for the Martin family.
In separate grants, approved by Empire State Development’s directors, Graycliff will receive a Buffalo Billion II allocation of $3.7 million for a series of interior and exterior renovations to the landmark that overlooks Lake Erie; Martin House complex in Buffalo will receive $5,275 million for renovations to the Barton House, landscaping around the Martin House and some interior work for the Martin House. The Martin House funds also came from the Buffalo Billion II initiative.
“This has always been a state project at its heart,” said Mary Roberts, Martin House Restoration Corp. executive director.
The Martin House is on pace to attract 40,000 people this year.
Work on the Barton House and Martin House’s second story interior renovations are underway while the landscapping project — working off of Wright’s original plan — will take place next year.
The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Barton House, which is part of the Darwin Martin House complex in Buffalo.
In all, that project has a $6.9 million price tag.
Robert Wooler, Graycliff Conservancy executive director, the Buffalo Billion funds will largely cover the costs of interior restorations at both Wright-designed homes on the Graycliff property. The $4 million project also includes some landscaping work and restoring a 90-step stair tower leading from the Graycliff’s lawn overlooking Lake Erie to the beach side bluffs at the water’s edge.
All of the work, being handled by Buffalo’s Reddin Construction, should be completed by late next year.
“This helps bring us to the finish line,” Wooler said. “Although, our finish line does move from time-to-time.”
Wright designed and built Graycliff as a summer retreat for Martin, a Larkin Co. executive, in 1926, roughly 20 years after the Jewett Parkway residence was completed for the family.
The Graycliff Conservancy took over the property in 1997 and since then has meticulously restored it to Wright’s design and vision.
Last year, more than 8,500 people visited the Derby estate and this year, it is on pace to welcome more than 10,000 visitors.
Besides restoring the stairwell, Wooler said the project will include an observation deck and bridge that will give visitors a panoramic view of the Graycliff house from the lake shore, in effect.
“Not everyone is going to want to take 90 stairs down to the beach,” Wooler said. “Looking at the house from the deck and bridge definitely gives you a different perspective.”
Once that work is completed, Wooler said the conservancy wants to upgrade its visitor’s center and perhaps build a small cafe as part of the renovations.
“We do need some new visitor’s comforts at the center,” Wooler said. “Now, is the time to turn some of our thoughts to the visitors center.”