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KeyBank buys former Mobil gas station ; Plans to spend $1.8 million to build branch at Hopkins and West Klein roads in Amherst

KeyBank on Thursday paid $900,000 to buy a former Mobil gas station and convenience store at the corner of Hopkins and West Klein roads in Amherst, where it plans to build a new branch.

The subsidiary of Cleveland-based KeyCorp, the area's fourth-largest bank, bought the closed gas station from 804 Hopkins Road Williamsville LLC, an entity registered to the station's former owner, Lehigh Gas of Bethlehem, Pa.

The bank plans to spend $1.8 million to build its fifth new branch in Western New York at the site, near a Dash's supermarket. This is the fifth of six new branches the bank is building locally after nearly two decades of largely stagnant branch activity.

Two branches already opened in 2009 in West Seneca and East Amherst, and two opened last year in Orchard Park and Grand Island. With the location at Hopkins and Klein, the bank will have 47 branches, more than 51 ATMs and about 1,000 employees in Western New York.

The Amherst Town Board last month finished rezoning the location from a motor service designation to a neighborhood business.

The site had at one time been considered for a large drugstore, but that met with strong objections from the neighborhood, so the board initially voted to impose a condition that the property never become a big-box drugstore. After the bank objected, the board last month limited the restriction to five years from the time the branch is built.

Also, last month, the real estate arm of 84 Lumber Co. sold three separate properties occupied by company stores to a national real estate investment trust (REIT) that has a sale-leaseback relationship with 84 Lumber. The stores are still open.

Most recently, Hardy Management Co. Inc. sold an 84 Lumber location in Wheatfield to Spirit SPE Portfolio 2007-2 LLC, an entity owned by Spirit Finance Corp. of Scottsdale, Ariz., for $560,000. Earlier in the month, Spirit paid $640,000 for the Military Road property in the Town of Tonawanda, and $900,000 for the Taylor Road store in Orchard Park.

In late April 2007, Spirit, an REIT that says it focuses on "single-tenant, operationally essential real estate," completed a $200 million sale-leaseback deal with 84 Lumber. In the transaction, Spirit bought 53 stores and one truss manufacturing plant, while a subsidiary of 84 Lumber agreed to lease the properties for an initial period of 20 years.

Founded in 1956 by Joe Hardy in Eighty Four, Pa., 84 Lumber is the nation's leading privately held building materials and services supplier to professional builders. The company operates more than 282 locations and parts manufacturing plants in 35 states and employs 3,700.


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