With over 100 companies and growing, Tri-Main Center is cultivating Buffalo's creative community.  

View this email in your browser

VOL. 18, Issue 5                                                                  April 2018
    Albert Kahn, Henry Ford and Tri-Main Center

Tri-Main Center is the work of architect, Albert Kahn. Kahn was known for his work with Henry Ford, and his innovations in building manufacturing facilities. Kahn did work for the Packard Motor Company and developed the first concrete-reinforced auto factory. This replaced the dangerous and inefficient wood-timber plants. 

Kahn's work caught the eye of Henry Ford and he began his work with Ford as early as 1908 when the plans for the assembly line production of Ford's Model -T were still in their infancy stages.  Ford and Kahn had a common bond in their lack of formal education, as well as outside the box thinking processes.

Working with Ford's ideas for production, Kahn's new four-story factory in Highland Park outside Detroit MI created a friendly work environment with large windows for natural light and good ventilation. The "day-light factory" was a far cry from the dirty, dark and cramped plants that had preceded it. 

“Kahn truly influenced the Modern movement with his industrial work,” said Alan Cobb, an architect who has been the president and chief executive of Albert Kahn Associates since 2013. “[Walter] Gropius and [Ludwig] Mies van der Rohe looked to Kahn for their philosophies. Basically, while they were creating the philosophy behind modern architecture, Albert Kahn was quietly building it.” Now, after decades of relative anonymity in architectural conversations, Kahn’s outsize influence is again in the spotlight.

Claire Zimmerman, an associate professor of architecture and art history at the University of Michigan, who is working on a book about Kahn, said that he was different from high-profile contemporaries like Frank Lloyd Wright.“Kahn is striking for the fact that he’s so low-key and his immense talents were hidden behind a quite conventional persona,” she said. “I think that’s true of the buildings as well. The buildings are conventional-looking and that tends to throw you off the scent in terms of their innovation and modernity.”     

For much of the early 20th century, Michigan was the industrial capital of the United States. The development of the Ford Model T, regarded as the first affordable automobile, and the images of men building cars on moving assembly, lines captured the public imagination. 


The Detroit region was home to many of Kahn’s industrial laboratories, including the Highland Park Ford Plant, where the Model T was produced, along with the Packard Automotive Plant and the Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn. The Highland Park Plant  that Henry Ford hired Albert Kahn to build in 1908 was based on the Packard No. 10 building. The building is interesting because it has no ornamentation whatsoever and was stripped down to the bare essentials to save his client money. 

While Ford would not implement the assembly line technique until 1913, the idea of a single story factory was in his plans even in 1908. “When Henry Ford took me to the old race course where the Highland Park Plant stands, and told me what he wanted, I thought he was crazy. No building such as he talked of had been known to me. But I designed them according to ideas. Ford’s big contribution to industrial building is the covering of many activities with one roof and thus saving expense in building, heating and upkeep”.

After perfecting his assembly line techniques at Highland Park, Ford commissioned Kahn to build the massive Rouge River automotive plant. The half-mile long, all glass wall facility allowed for uninterrupted assembly on one level. Rouge River went on to become the largest manufacturing complex in the U.S. and at one point, over 120,00 people worked on site!

The Packard plant is still very much visible, with its durable brickwork and the pedestrian bridge over East Grand Boulevard, evidence of past economic might.

The success of the Highland Park Plant lead to a lifelong working relationship between the two men and over 1,000 commissions, including the 1915 Ford plant at Main and Rodney Streets in Buffalo, NY. 

Henry Ford came to Buffalo in the early 1900s for an auto show and seemed interested in what he saw. While the Highland Park Plant on Woodward Avenue (Detroit) was the headquarters of Ford Motor Company at the time, many miles from Detroit, Ford already had schemes for the distribution of his new tin lizzies. One of the first prominent tributary production facilities would occur at Main and Rodney Streets.

Buffalo would be unable to acquire the headquarters of the Ford Motor Company, but Ford would continually invest in the labor force and economy of Buffalo.  The factory, just north of Jewett Parkway and south of Amherst Street, was adjacent to the Beltway railroad to the north.

This plant was designed by Albert Kahn and built between 1910-1915. The building was distinctive in the detailed and ornate exterior cladding, executed in brick and glazed terra cotta, like a bridge between Kahn’s industrial typology and the eclectic commercial office buildings Kahn would later design for Detroit, including the General Motors and the Fisher buildings. 

The Main and Rodney building is similar to numerous plants built by Kahn around the country, all using large windows and brick facades with terracotta accents. Our building, like many of the plants, incorporated a showroom on the main floor, You can still the large windows and wood columns on the corner as the showroom as the showroom today serves as the cafeteria for The Occupational Training Center. 

Buffalo’s Ford plant would produce over 600,000 of the 15 million Ford Model T’s produced by 1927. The plant continued producing Fords, now Model A’s, until 1931 when Ford decided to sell the Main Street facility.The Ford Plant at 2495 Main Street was important because it marked a change in Ford's philosophy of the design of mass production factories. of and thus saving expense in building, heating and upkeep”.

While neither the Highland Park Plant nor the Buffalo facility took advantage of a single story plan, we know that Kahn had already devised the linear system at the Pierce Arrow factory. While it is not clear whether Ford or Kahn implemented this digression of the automobile factory, it is certain that both Ford and Kahn have been credited with the development of the single roofed linear planed auto production facility. 

"Architecture is 90 percent business and 10 percent art," Albert Kahn was in the habit of saying. As for Ford, he was not looking for an architectural marvel to celebrate the entrepreneur in the form of a new industrial aesthetic, but rather a design able to provide practical solutions to the specific needs of mass production.

A tribute to Kahn's work remains here at Tri-Main Center. The use has changed over the years, but we think he'd be pleased to see how his large windows and open areas have been adapted to still make worker friendly environments 100 years on!

We can clearly understand the success of the collaboration between Ford and Kahn and what is now, Tri-Main Center.


Window replacement is underway and the new windows are stunning. Do a drive by so you can appreciate the improvement. A new entrance has also begun to take shape. Our building will be a true asset to the neighborhood. 
We anticipate the first tenant will move in August 1! For leasing information call 835-3366 or click here

4th Friday @ Buffalo Art Studio

(Suite #500) 5:00 – 8:00

Free admission to the gallery and gift shop on the fourth
Friday of the month. Opening receptions include artist talks
at 6:00 pm. Refreshments will include donation based wine
and beer as well as delicious offerings provided by Ashker’s

April 27
            Villa Maria College, PRELUDE April 27-May 3, 2018
This senior thesis exhibition by ten senior BFA graphic design students of Villa Maria College represents the culmination of the visual communication and design skills acquired throughout their undergraduate studies. The body of work includes the branding and/or rebranding of both original or existing products, services and businesses with designs ranging from business systems to integrated marketing campaigns that include packaging, magazine ads, posters, billboards and web site design.
 Brandi Aurelio, Gina Griffo, Alexander Mayers, Tiarra McGinnis,   Adam  Schuh, Travis Springer, Erika Tozzo, Dawan Turner, John   Willis, Kayla Zelasko
 Chartwells, Gateway Printing & Graphics

Don't miss the biggest sale yet - find all kinds of treasures just waiting for you! Enter at the Halbert Door and come right downstairs
Fillmore Leroy Area Residents Association

Financial Empowerment Classes
April 21 - @ FLARE, Inc. # 412, 2495 Main St, 10-1pm
May 19 - @ FLARE, Inc. #412, 2495 Main St, 10-1pm

This class is available to homebuyers and homeowners. Space is limited please call to register for the free classes @ 716-838-6740 or email us @

First Time Homebuyers Orientation
April 19 - 2495 Main St, 6:00 pm @ Conference Room 2 April 24 - 2495 Main St, 6:00 pm @ Conference Room 2

                    BUFFALO GAME SPACE                                                                                                     
  Buffalo Game Space Jam XI, a 48 hour game jam, May 18th 

  BGX, our spring locally made game showcase, June 9th

Journey’s End Green Shoots for New Americans has become a member organization of Grassroots Gardens of WNY! Under the new partnership, Journey’s End will be establishing a new community garden space on Jewett Avenue, behind what is currently the Green Shoots Brewster Street Farm. The community garden will start with eight raised garden beds with the potential for adding growing space in the future. Journey’s End would like to invite individuals and organizations who live and work in the community to maintain a garden plot during the 2018 growing season! Seeds, access to water, and gardening advice will be provided by Journey’s End staff. If you are interested or want more information, please contact the farm manager, Jenna Walczak, at (716) 262-5308 or

And, The Farm Stand with produce from the farm on Brewster Street, will return to our lobby during the growing season - Thursdays from 3:00 - 6:00. 

The greenhouse is ready to be planted, thanks to many volunteers who came out to help us start growing. Thanks!

Environmental Excellence Award for the
Exceptional Recycling Services Program at Tri-Main Center!

OTC's Anna Klapakis has been selected to receive an Environmental Excellence Award for the Exceptional Recycling Services Program at Tri-Main Center! As you know, her students from the Occupational Training Center in Tri-Main Center, facilitate the recycling program for all of our tenants. Their great work has enabled our building community to make substantial reductions in our waste. Anna teaches about environmental stewardship and inspires her students to learn and teach about it as well. The award will be presented on Sunday, April 22 2018 at noon at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Congratulations Anna!
Trimania 2018 - the event of the year!
Trimania was as huge and exciting as promised. Thousands came out, even in the freezing rain, for music, art and all kinds of unexpected experiences. And no one left disappointed. 


Tenants, please notify the Tri-Main Center Management Office of any after hours events, any day of the week. We will alert our Security to insure safety and organization. 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reminder: Tri-Main Center is open from 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM Saturday, and locked all day on Sunday and holidays. Only tenants with fobs have access to enter the building when it is locked. 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
If you would like to be added to the Tri-Main Center emergency building notification list, to be alerted by text and phone of a threat, please write to to receive a form. 

Our recycling program is making a difference - look at what we've done together so far this year... 
Copyright © 2016 Tri-Main Development LLC, All rights reserved.
Inside Tri-Main Newsletter

Our mailing address is:
2495 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14214

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Want to learn more?
Please, contact Jessica Edwards, Director of Marketing & Community Development 

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Tri-Main Center · 2495 Main Street · Buffalo, NY 14214 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp