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Lockport Council votes to sell abandoned condo building to couple with rehab plan

LOCKPORT – A Lockport couple will buy an abandoned condominium building from the city with a plan to return it to habitable condition in six to 12 months.

The Common Council voted Wednesday to sell 501 Park Lane Circle to William and Christine Hurley of Willow Street for $10,000.

The four-unit building was the only structure ever built in Victorian Village, which was supposed to be a four-building condo complex developed by Edward E. Lewis of Williamsville. The decade-old building ended up in the city’s possession after a tax foreclosure.

The Hurleys are not buying the other three vacant lots.

The condo building has been abandoned for at least three years. It has become a neighborhood eyesore, with a flooded basement and a full complement of mold.

“We can repair it,” William Hurley said. He declined to comment further on the project, saying he didn’t want any publicity.

“Once they buy it, they’re going to gut it,” Alderman Joseph P. Oates, R-1st Ward, said of the Hurleys.

However, they will be given 30 days to back out once they inspect the property.

“They want to make sure the foundation is OK; that’s the main thing. It’s got 4 feet of water in it,” said Alderman Mark S. Devine, R-3rd Ward.

Alderman Richard E. Abbott, D-5th Ward, said the renovated building will contain four condo units as it did before, but a garage or two will be added, housing a total of four vehicles.

The building currently is assessed at $178,500, but the taxes aren’t being paid. Abbott said the city is losing out on $6,000 every year in tax revenues.

Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said the assessment will be revised after a certificate of occupancy is issued for the renovated building.

Regarding another empty building, the Council extended a lease on the old Electric Building at the Erie Canal locks, granted last year to Historic Lockport Mill Race Inc., which was set up by a small group of local professionals who want to renovate the building into event space.

The one-year lease has expired and the renewal is for five years with a five-year renewal option.

Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said the corporation is trying to obtain the engineering studies needed to release $300,000 from the state Dormitory Authority for a makeover of the 19th-century structure.

The lease extension allows the city to evict the corporation if no meaningful progress is made on the renovation.

The Council also agreed to allow McCaffrey to write a letter endorsing the corporation’s application for a state canal grant.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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