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Hein & Co. buys office building next to UB

Legal publisher William S. Hein & Co. has acquired a foreclosed office building adjacent to University at Buffalo's North Campus for $3.3 million.

The Buffalo-based company, acting through Hein 2350 North Forest Road LLC, on Thursday bought the St. Rita's building at 2350 N. Forest Road from CW Capital, the "special servicer" firm that had handled the previous loan and foreclosed on the prior owner, an out-of-town investor. CW acted through 2350 North Forest Road Holdings LLC.

Hein paid more than the asking price of $3 million, following a bidding war with other interested buyers, said David L. Schiller, associate broker at Pyramid Brokerage Co. of Buffalo, who handled the transaction with his son, Ben, of Pyramid. The buyer was identified by Buffalo News research, not by the brokers.

Hein & Co. is currently located at 1285 Main St., near Bryant Street. No one from the company was immediately available to comment on the purchase.

The 66,308-square-foot, two-story office building sits on 5.23 acres next to Ellicott Creek and the UB campus. Besides its location, the building also features a fitness center and a conference center. It was built in 1990, and Realmark-St. Ritas LLC sold it in August 2006 to the out-of-town investor for $6.225 million.

"The demand for owner-occupied buildings is very, very strong," David Schiller said. "We didn't even get to [producing] a brochure. This thing flew off the shelf, and there was intense competition."

He said it's the first of three "significant Amherst office buildings" that are expected to sell between now and July.

The building currently is about half-occupied by other tenants with leases. Hein plans to occupy the rest of the building, Schiller said.

Hein is a 52-year-old legal digital publisher and one of the nation's leading reprinters of classic law books and out-of-print U.S. Government Printing Office documents. It's also the world's largest distributor of legal periodicals and is an online legal research provider.

Its HeinOnline image-based legal research database, the world's largest, was launched in May 2000, and now contains more than 40 library modules with 75 million pages of legal research material.

The company was founded by William S. and Ilene Hein in 1961, but has roots dating from a company started by his uncle in the 1920s, where Hein apprenticed starting at age 16. The company later expanded into original publishing, microform and other law library services, and acquired competitors.