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'Iconic' building that once housed Bank of East Aurora sold

A former Moog executive who now invests in real estate has acquired a historic onetime HSBC Bank USA branch in East Aurora – but he doesn't yet have plans for it.

Jay Hennig, through Hennig Development LLC, paid $535,000 to KeyBank to buy the shuttered branch at 649 Main St. and 643 Millard Fillmore Place.

Built in 1925 for the Bank of East Aurora, the 9,163-square-foot, two-story branch features a brick facade, columned entry and rooftop balcony, as well as a full basement.

The branch has always been occupied as a bank, and in recent years it had been owned and operated by HSBC, before the company sold it to Buffalo-based First Niagara Financial Group along with its entire upstate New York branch network. First Niagara was later acquired by KeyCorp of Cleveland.

"It's an iconic building in East Aurora and, unlike many others, it's stand-alone and has ample parking," Hennig said. "So we decided to buy it, then figure out what to do with it."

Hennig said he and his wife "would prefer to lease the building but would consider selling it to the right buyer." He noted that the first floor is ideal for a high-end restaurant or retailer, while the second floor would make "a really cool loft apartment." He added that he has the original building plans, "so restoration would be relatively easy."

Hennig, managing partner of the development firm, is a former group president at East Aurora-based Moog, where he worked from May 1982 until November 2014, when he retired.

Both he and his wife are "lifelong residents" of East Aurora, so they opted to stay and reinvest in the community after retiring, he said. With their help, their daughter bought Aurora Liquor, a 60-year-old local business that she has now operated for two years. The couple are also partners in East Aurora-based 42 North Brewing Co. and renovated an old building off Main Street.

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