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Developer buys Pitt Petri site ; Iskalo pays $827,000 for property in Williamsville, will seek tenants

Iskalo Development Corp. has acquired the building that used to house Pitt Petri's suburban store in Williamsville.

Iskalo, through Iskalo 5727 Main LLC, paid $827,000 to buy the property at 5727 Main St. at South Ellicott Street, including a 7,500-square-foot building.

The property had been owned by Main-South Ellicott Corp., which is owned by Anthony and Joseph Picone and Michael Giokas. Anthony Picone owns Picone Construction Corp. of Clarence, but he said his firm is not involved.

Iskalo Development plans to add the property to its portfolio and "begin marketing it to potential tenants" but has no other plans "to announce at this time," said spokesman Jonathan Gill.

"With our strong and growing portfolio of properties along Main Street in Williamsville, Iskalo Development is uniquely positioned to be the developer of first choice for companies looking to locate in this vibrant commercial corridor," said founder and CEO Paul B. Iskalo.

He said the latest purchase "fits that strategy and also makes sense because it is a highly visible corner location desired by retail users."

The building, which dates back to the 1920s and at one time housed a car dealership, was acquired by Main-South Ellicott in 1994 from Warren Miller.

The new owners did a "total renovation" and then leased 5,000 square feet in the building to upscale gift retailer Pitt Petri Inc., which opened its suburban store in 1995 largely to sell luxury items from Tiffany & Co.

But Tiffany changed plans five years later, ending its relationship with retailers like Pitt Petri in favor of direct sales to consumers. Pitt Petri closed the Williamsville store a year ago after its 15-year lease expired, but the costs of operating the store without Tiffany products, its primary revenue source, drained the company's finances.

The front part of the building, where Pitt Petri was located, is currently vacant. The smaller back portion is occupied by the Western New York Work Force Development Center, an employment training agency that offers a variety of state-funded skills courses.

Pitt Petri announced early this month that it will close its remaining downtown store for good Friday, leasing its entire building at 378 Delaware Ave. to the Plaza Group.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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