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Kolkmeyer selling apartments to focus on downtown Buffalo buildings

Now that he has become a major player in downtown Buffalo real estate, developer Paul Kolkmeyer is seeking to unload his holdings in other areas to focus on his new buildings, and to take advantage of the high prices being paid for apartment properties.

Kolkmeyer, the former CEO of First Niagara Financial Group, is selling a pair of apartment buildings near Bennett High School and All-High Stadium, with more than 80 units in all.

The portfolio includes 54 units at Morris Manor, located at 35 E. Morris Ave., and another 27 at Mercer Commons, at 2813-2825 Main St. CBRE-Buffalo is handling the sale.

Kolkmeyer, owner of Priam Enterprises LLC, bought the buildings a few years ago, and has invested more than $1.6 million to make improvements and renovations to the properties, said CBRE spokesman Christopher Leonard. Rents range from $575 to $800 at Morris and from $675 to $825 at Mercer.

Built in 1935, the three-story Morris Manor is assessed at $368,000, although it last sold in 2007 in a $1.125 million foreclosure. Mercer Commons, assessed at $850,000, was built in 1930, and has three floors with 25,514 square feet.

Kolkmeyer has been an active player in the local commercial real estate market for the last eight years. The investor and landlord also owns and manages The Dun Building on 111 Pearl St. in Buffalo, Carriage House Square at 33 West Tupper St., and 183 Jewett Parkway, and is a part-owner of the Lofts at 136, with Jake Schneider. Kolkmeyer also is part of the Mensch Capital Partners investment group that bought Westwood Country Club in Amherst three years ago, and is now seeking to redevelop the entire golf course into a new residential, retail, hotel and commercial community.

Kolkmeyer’s focus changed late last year, when he bought five downtown office buildings from longtime owner David Sweet, paying $11.7 million for the Rand, Main Court, Main Seneca, Roblin and Stanton buildings.

Together with partners Andrew Shaevel and Ronald Toski, he’s now investing $36 million to transform and reuse three of those buildings.

He’s turning the vacant Stanton at 251 Main St. into 36 loft apartments and his corporate office, while converting the bottom two floors of the Roblin at 241 Main into a 49-space parking ramp for the condominimums he will be putting into the top five floors of the Marine Trust Building next door at 237 Main. He’s also planning a boutique hotel and banquet facility on the first three floors of Marine Trust.

The rest of Marine Trust and Roblin, as well as Rand and Main Court up the street, will remain commercial.