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Lake Shore Bancorp purchase defunct First Niagara Bank branch

Lake Shore Bancorp bought a vacant Kenmore branch from First Niagara Financial Group, expanding its market reach further from its South Towns roots in a bid to garner more customers.

The Angola-based parent of Lake Shore Savings Bank paid $1.25 million for the office, located at 3438 Delaware Avenue. The four-year-old branch was formerly occupied by Greater Buffalo Savings Bank, which First Niagara acquired early this year.

The branch sale closed on Wednesday, with Ciminelli Real Estate handling both sides of the deal. Lake Shore now plans to reopen the office as its newest location on Dec. 1, and hired George Gardner as branch manager. Gardner, a 30-year banking veteran, had opened the location for Greater Buffalo in 2004.

"We are looking to continue to grow in the Erie County area.," Lake Shore president and CEO David Mancuso said. "We currently have no other offices planned, but we continue to look for locations that will fit our business strategy."

This is the fourth branch that Ciminelli has sold or otherwise disposed of recently for First Niagara, which closed the locations following the Greater Buffalo purchase because they overlapped with better locations.

Greater Buffalo's headquarters offices at Main Street and Jewett Parkway in Buffalo was purchased by LPCiminelli, which is occupying about 40,000 square feet and leasing 8,000 back to First Niagara for a branch there. That still leaves at least 20,000 square feet in that building that is available for lease.

Also, the former Walker Center branch space was reclaimed by the landlord for other purposes. And Greater Buffalo's Getzville office at 315 Stahl Road was purchased by Riverside Federal Credit Union, which has now opened a branch there.

Five other offices are still available for sale or lease through Ciminelli, which acts as property manager for First Niagara statewide.

The remaining branches are located at: 2715 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Amherst, 570 Dick Road in Depew, 410 Kenmore Ave. in Buffalo, 135 Main St. in Lockport, and 320 Orchard Park Road in W. Seneca

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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