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Freezer Queen site sold for $3 million Winning bidders plan hotel-condo complex

A group of local investors plans a hotel and condominium complex on Buffalo's Outer Harbor, on the peninsula where the former Freezer Queen plant now stands.

The group, called Queen City Landing, prevailed in Thursday's foreclosure auction for the nearly 20-acre site, with a winning bid of $3 million.

Jon Williams, one of the investors, declined to offer specifics following the auction, saying that detailed plans will be announced in the near future.

"The property sits in an ideal location," Williams said.

Gerald Buchheit, who owns the Quaker Crossing shopping plaza in Orchard Park and formerly owned the Statler Towers, is also part of Queen City Landing. Neither he nor Williams would identify the other members of the group.

The group members declined to speculate on the costs of the project, saying the plans were not yet complete. But Buchheit said Queen City Landing would "probably not" demolish Freezer Queen's former six-story, 272,000-square-foot plant.

The developers' plan would revive a Fuhrmann Boulevard site that has been dormant since the frozen food production plant closed in summer 2006. Surrounded on three sides by water, the property sits next to 120 acres that the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. is taking control of from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, with an eye toward future development.

Williams said he was encouraged by the possibility of Outer Harbor development, but said the Queen City Landing's project is not dependent on those plans. "The property will stand on its own," he said.

Cash Cunningham, who ran the auction, said he was pleased to see the property go to "a group of developers who are good, solid buyers."

During the auction, Cunningham suggested an opening bid of $4 million from the crowd. Instead, the first bid entered was $1 million, and subsequent bids progressed in $100,000 increments. The auction soon turned into a back-and-forth between two groups of bidders, who kept raising their bids with slight gestures. When there was no bidder for $3.1 million, the process ended, with Queen City Landing as the winner, just minutes after the auction began.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com

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