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3 real estate deals worth $6 million ; Sale of Grace Manor, airport lot included

Developer Carl Paladino closed on his purchase of the former Grace Manor Nursing Home in Buffalo, an airport parking lot changed hands as part of a larger merger, and an Orchard Park commercial complex that houses a roller-skating rink has a new owner.

The three multimillion-dollar deals, all on Friday, were worth about $6 million, representing an unusual cluster of high-priced deals in a single day.

Most prominently, Paladino completed his purchase of Grace Manor on North Street for $1.6 million, after winning the bidding against three other would-be buyers at a public auction for the bankrupt property on Oct. 31, 2009. The property's address is 10 Symphony Circle, but according to Erie County clerk records, Paladino purchased 304 and 310 North St. and 47 Wadsworth St.

Paladino, owner of Ellicott Development Co., teamed up with Mosey Castle Group's Joel Castle and Joe Mosey on the deal, with each firm owning half of the property. The former nursing home near Kleinhans Music Hall has 80 rooms with 81,200 square feet of space.

Grace Manor, formerly the Rosa Coplon Jewish Home, underwent $7 million in renovations in 1997 and reopened a year later as the first minority-owned nursing home in Buffalo. But it struggled with inadequate Medicaid reimbursements for years and suffered millions of dollars in losses, forcing it into receivership under Kaleida Health in 2008. It closed in May 2009.

Paladino said he plans to "change the name" and doesn't expect it to be a nursing home again but said the new owners don't have firm plans for it yet. In the meantime, they're "getting it secured" and are "going to make sure it's taken care of."

"We've got a couple of irons in the fire, but there's nothing sitting there that's definitive yet," he said, declining to be more specific. "It's a nice piece of property. We bought it with a couple of particular uses in mind. And hopefully we'll have a development project secured."

>Roller rink sold

In the biggest of the three deals, Brockport Land Associates LLC paid $2.31 million to buy 4391 S. Buffalo St. in Orchard Park from Park Square of Orchard Park LLC, according to documents filed with the Erie County Clerk's Office. Neither of the two entities could be identified further, although Brockport Land Associates is registered at the same West Falls address as Paradigm Development, a land developer.

The property, located south of Route 20A, is home to the Orchard Park Roller Rink, an office of Manpower temporary staffing services, Competitive Edge PC computer repair shop, CarQuest Auto Parts, a branch of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, a day care business, a water purification company, an answering service and a senior citizens group, among others.

In the third deal, an entity called CFS 2907 Buffalo LLC paid $1.93 million to buy the Buffalo FastTrack Airport Parking facility at 4099 Genesee St. in Cheektowaga from PCAA SP LLC.

That's part of a much larger national transaction, in which Los Angeles-based private equity firm Aurora Capital Group this month led an investor group that bought the assets of Parking Company of America Airports LLC out of bankruptcy.

Essington, Pa.-based PCAA was the nation's largest owner and operator of airport parking services, with 27 airport parking facilities and more than 30,000 parking spaces at 20 major U.S. airports, including seven of the nation's 10 largest. The company operated lots under the AviStar Parking, FastTrack and Sky/Park brands, including the one at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

But financial woes forced the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 28 and then auction off its assets. Aurora Resurgence, the "complex situations" fund unit of Aurora Capital, led the group that won the bidding and provided most of the equity financing for the deal. It then recruited PRG Parking Management of Chicago, which does business as The Parking Spot, to rebrand and run the facilities.

The Parking Spot now owns or operates 41 facilities at 25 airports with 69,000 parking spaces. The 12-year-old firm, co-founded by a member of the Pritzker family that founded the Hyatt chain, is known for its lot management and services, including providing largely covered parking.

"They were kind of like the Wegmans of the parking business. They did it right," said Tom Scherr, general manager of the Buffalo FastTrack, which has 1,177 spaces but capacity for 1,400 with valet parking.

"If they do bring that to Buffalo, it would be a beautiful lot and it would be very competitive or better than anything that's here. It would probably boost our sales a lot."

>College acquires land

On a smaller scale, B&S Southtowns Campus Group LLC, BP Southtowns Campus LLC and JP Southtowns Campus LLC paid $377,000 to buy 2.8 acres on Redtail Drive in Orchard Park from Acquest Management, Orchard Park Commerce Center and Orchard Park Commerce Center Joint Venture.

The buyers are affiliates of Seneca Development and Management Corp. in Buffalo, which owns the Seneca Industrial Center near the Larkin at Exchange Building. More importantly, it also built the new Southtowns Campus for Bryant & Stratton College in 2004 at 200 Redtail Drive in Orchard Park.

That's right next to the vacant land that was just acquired, which will be used for Bryant & Stratton's fast-growing online division. The school has been growing so quickly that college officials "foresee the need for a separate facility for the online division at some point in the next couple of years," said Alan Dewart, president of Seneca Development.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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