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Ulrich City Centre sold to Tonawanda firm

LOCKPORT – Developer David L. Ulrich announced Monday that the sale of Ulrich City Centre, the 13-store development in the heart of downtown Lockport, has been completed.

Sinatra & Co. Realty of the Town of Tonawanda bought the 35,000-square-foot, eight-year-old complex for $3,575,000.

“It’s one of the nicest properties in Niagara County,” President Nick Sinatra said. “I know it was built with high quality if David did it.”

The property includes two strips of business space, one fronting Main Street and the other along Walnut Street a block to the south.

Before the city won control of the land in court after a failed contract with another developer, the land, called the South Block, had been vacant for more than 30 years. The complex is believed to have cost more than $5 million, three-fourths of which was Ulrich’s own money. In October 2011, he announced the complex was for sale, saying it was never profitable.

“A hundred years from today, City Centre will still form the foundation of Lockport’s downtown,” Ulrich declared Monday, “and since it was built, others have come forward to help in our city’s revitalization. It was our signature development, and it was important to us to find first-class buyers who respect and have commitment to our community.”

Two previous deals for Ulrich to sell the property fell through, one because of the belated discovery of old dry-cleaning chemicals beneath the courtyard pavement. The city reclaimed ownership of the parking lot from Ulrich in December, allowing him to proceed with the sale of the surrounding buildings.

In May, the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency approved the transfer of the remainder of a 15-year tax break, granted in 2006, to the buyer.

Sinatra said the complex will be held in the name of Lockport Retail Group, a partnership between himself and Matt Connors, a Sinatra & Co. project manager.

The payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement saved Lockport Retail an estimated $28,000 in mortgage transfer tax, according to its IDA application. That document said the current City Centre tenants pay a total of $390,576 a year in rent.

“Occupancy is very high, and the tenant base is very strong,” Sinatra said.

He said he plans no changes to the property in the short term, but there is a possibility of future expansion if tenants need to grow.

Some of those tenants include the Lock 34 restaurant, Blue Door Salon, Hunt Real Estate, Julie Muscato Design, Kitchen Concepts, several professional offices, and the district office of State Sen. George D. Maziarz.

“We like to have a positive impact in neighborhoods where we own properties,” Sinatra said. “When David built it, it really transformed that strip. We want to continue that legacy.”

Sinatra owns commercial properties in Kenmore and several residential properties, including about 250 apartments around Elmwood Village and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; apartments in Amherst and North Tonawanda; and two apartment houses in the Town of Lockport.