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Ciminelli is selling 3 buildings on Niagara St. Trade corridor never developed

Amherst's Ciminelli Development Co. is selling a trio of industrial buildings along Niagara Street in Buffalo that it acquired in the late 1990s as part of efforts to settle the estate of late developer Stephen B. McGarvey.

McGarvey, who had an ownership stake in the buildings at 990 and 1050 Niagara Street, as well as 960 Busti Ave., died last February, leaving a complicated estate that is burdened with debt.

The Erie, Pa.-based entrepreneur is best known locally for his ownership of the former Trico windshield wiper plant at Goodell and Washington streets in downtown Buffalo, and the adjacent former M. Wile apparel plant.

The McGarvey estate, which is facing more than $300,000 in unpaid City of Buffalo property taxes on those buildings, along with a laundry list of creditor liens, is in the process of selling those properties to satisfy the various debts.

Ciminelli, which had entered into a partnership with McGarvey in 2004 on the Trico property, a site viewed as having strong redevelopment prospects, has exited that relationship.

Ciminelli President Paul F. Ciminelli, who could not be reached to discuss his decision to sell, acquired the Niagara Street neighborhood properties, just north of the Peace Bridge, in 1998. At the time, there was momentum to create an international business corridor along Niagara Street to capitalize on importing and exporting activity tied to goods passing over the Peace Bridge.

Ciminelli paid $2 million for the three buildings, which total just over 215,000 square feet, and planned to lease them to tenants seekings warehousing and distribution space.

The developer also investigated the buildings' potential for residential conversion. The four-story, 68,000-square-foot building at 960 Busti Ave., formerly the home of Multisorb Technologies, was considered a strong candidate for conversion to condominiums or apartments because of its views across the Niagara River and plentiful on-site parking.

While Ciminelli has been able to attract a modest stable of tenants to the three properties over the past eight years, the buildings have remained largely empty.

Jim Militello, president of JR Militello Realty, which is marketing the properties for Ciminelli, said despite that fact that Niagara Street has not become the trade haven once predicted, the buildings and their location remain attractive.

"There's been quite a bit of activity and there are offers in," Militello said. "I don't expect to have a single buyer for all three. I think we'll end up with multiple owners with their own ideas on how they'll use the buildings."

The current asking price for the buildings is $1.6 million.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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