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Record-setting home sale buoys market House in Hamburg sells for $3 million

The Buffalo Niagara real estate market got a major financial and emotional boost this week with a record-setting $3 million home sale -- to a mysterious 21-year-old hedge fund manager.

According to the Erie County Clerk's Office, Phantom Holdings One LLC has purchased a 15,000-square-foot home at 6523 Boston State Road for $3 million, breaking all prior home sales records for Erie and Niagara counties. The eye-popping price is more than twice that of the previous top-dollar deal, the $1.4 million sale of a residence on Old Lake Shore Road in the Town of Evans which closed in late 2007.

RealtyUSA agent Mary Zulawski, who marketed the home for seller John A. Russo, the son of Sorrento Cheese Co. founder Louis Russo, said she's ecstatic and relieved the deal is closed.

"I had a lot of sleepless nights. This wasn't easy or quick," Zulawski said. "It was the biggest deal out there, so there were a lot of people watching and asking questions. It was overwhelming at times."

MJ Peterson's Susan Lenahan represented the buyer in the deal.

James Knight, president of the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, said the mega-sale is good for the entire local real estate community.

"A high profile sale like this, [which] sets a high water mark, shows the range of what we have to offer and can move," Knight said.

He said that the region's "bread and butter" real estate sales tend to be in the $120,000 to $150,000 range.

Zulawski, who has been selling homes for 24 years, declined to iden
tify the buyer, but confirmed he's a 21-year-old hedge fund trader from Cleveland who plans to live and work from his new home base.

"He's a terrific young gentleman who loves the property and feels comfortable in the Buffalo area," Zulawski said.

The mystery buyer, who purchased the home under a corporate name to safeguard his privacy, is apparently no stranger to Western New York. His mother is a Hamburg native and he already owns a commercial property in downtown Buffalo, according to sources familiar with the deal.

The buyer found the home via the Internet and contacted Zulawski after taking a virtual tour of the residence on her business Web site.

Her online pitch described the property as "Western New York's most exquisite home! Unmatched craftsmanship, spectacular estate setting, hundred of trees, four ponds."

Built in 1985, the two-story Tudor-style residence, with a 10,000-square-foot garage, sits on 126 acres. Key features include a 4,000-square-foot master bedroom wing, indoor pool, greenhouse and workout room. The five-bedroom, 7 1/2 -bathroom home also has a 3,500-square-foot basement.

Zulawski also confirmed the buyer has an even bigger deal pending for an adjacent residence Russo owns. That $3.3 million contract is for a home at 6553 Boston State Road.

Built in 1992, the second home is 16,000 square feet in size, with 8,000-square-foot garage.

According to records kept by the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, prior to the $3 million deal, just 19 local residences have sold for $1 million or more since 1999. In the past 30 days, a home in Amherst sold for $1.2 million, and Buffalo Sabres Captain Craig Rivet purchased a house in Clarence for $1.1 million.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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