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Demolition, divorce get entwined in Hamburg

Hamburg town officials are stepping into divorce proceedings to help get an eyesore in the town cleaned up.

But it may be too late.

If the town determines that the former Hoak's Armor Inn cannot be repaired, demolition may be the only alternative for the local landmark where Abbott and Bayview roads and Clark Street intersect.

The Town Board has authorized the town attorney to file intervention papers in the matrimonial action of Christopher Walter, who owns the old inn.

Walter bought the inn for $140,000 from the mother of former Supervisor Patrick H. Hoak in 2005 and started renovating it. He gutted the interior and expanded the kitchen. He also tore down an adjacent building for parking. Construction stopped 3 1/2 years ago, town officials said.

"The condition of the building is deteriorating," said Kurt C. Allen, supervising building inspector. "It's been a source of blight, obviously due to its neglect."

Allen said Walter has been cited for property maintenance violations several times.

"Our discussion with Mr. Walter, what he has been telling us, the reason he cannot proceed is all the assets are tied up in the divorce proceedings," said Supervisor Steven J. Walters.

Walters said the town wants the judge to release money that would let the town make some improvements to the building in order to save it. "It is an eyesore to the neighbors," he said.

The building has been put up for sale. "It doesn't appear there has been interest on prospective buyers for finishing the building," Allen said.

Hoak said the building dates from 1819, when a brick structure was erected as a stagecoach stop. It was called Temperance Inn and had lodging but no alcohol, he said, and it burned in 1910. The wood frame building was built on the original foundation.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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