COVID Call Center at Lincoln Building
Watts has undertaken an emergency project with Erie County to develop a COVID Call Center at the Lincoln Building (formerly Ticor Building) on Franklin Street in Buffalo, NY. The Ticor building is among the oldest structures standing downtown, and was designated as the longest fully occupied business office in 1989 after 109 years of continuous occupation. Originally constructed as the First Unitarian Church in 1833, the building was renovated extensively over the years, and was first occupied as an office building in 1880. It is part of the Joseph Ellicott Historic Preservation District, and has been known by many names including: The First Unitarian Church, Title Guarantee Building, Austin Building, and the Ticor Building. The building is eligible for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
The project will use both State and Federal funds and will need to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. With no planned demolition of exterior features and the restoration of several interior features, the project is not anticipated to cause negative effect to the community. Compliance with Section 106 is anticipated to be straightforward. The project is planned in multiple phases following schematic design: Phase 1 – roof replacement and first and second floor fit out as the call center; Phase 2– rehabilitation of floors three and four; and Phase 3 – building exterior restoration. Phases 1 was performed as emergency design-build work, working directly with a contractor retained by the County for emergency services: Rodriguez Construction Group. The Call Center needed to respond to the current pandemic health crisis, with social distancing maintained, few physical touchpoints, and multiple hand sanitizing stations located throughout.