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Barnes, girlfriend eye razing Evans mansion after buying 'stunning' lakefront estate

Noted personal-injury lawyer Stephen E. Barnes and his attorney girlfriend have paid $950,000 for a stunning lakefront estate located next to a home the couple already owns in Evans, according to public records.

Barnes and Ellen B. Sturm bought the 3.8-acre parcel primarily to expand their current holdings on Larkin Road and to take control of the property's fate, and they plan at this point to tear down the 9,000-square-foot house on the site, said Daniel Mania, the broker and owner of Emprise Realty Group who represented the couple in the sale.

The house has 10 bedrooms, seven bathrooms and six fireplaces, but it was built in 1900 and has not been updated in many years, Mania said.

"They don't need the house. Let's put it that way," he said.

The property's main value is its extensive, easy-to-access beach along the Lake Erie shore, said Mania and Mark Kaminski, a real-estate agent with Howard Hanna who represented the sellers.

"The waterfront on this property is by far one of the best I've ever seen in Western New York. The beachfront that went along with this house is deep and wide and absolutely stunning," Kaminski said.

Barnes and Sturm on Friday closed on their purchase of the property at 607A Larkin Road, off Sturgeon Point Road, from Dr. Paul T.S. Lee and his wife, Irene.

The Lees used the house as a seasonal home, Kaminski said, and had listed the property for sale for about a decade with various real-estate companies with an asking price north of $2 million at first.

Kaminski said the mansion is "one of the biggest houses I've been in," but the property was priced too high, given its condition.

Barnes and Sturm already own the property at 607B Larkin, which they purchased for $1.3 million in 2015, according to the deed. They don't use the home year-round, but it's more than just a summer home for the couple, said Mania, who mentioned a Halloween party they hosted there.

Barnes and Sturm each own homes closer to the downtown law offices of Cellino & Barnes, with Barnes paying just over $1 million in 2009 for a condominium at the Erie Basin Marina.

Barnes and Sturm didn't want the property at 607A Larkin to fall into the hands of someone who might redevelop the site, Mania said, although the Town of Evans has restrictions on what can take place there.

Nor does the couple want to renovate the house at 607A Larkin and "flip" the property, Mania said. Instead, acquiring the property gives them a combined 5.4 acres and close to 700 feet of beach frontage along the lakefront that likely is more useful to them after they raze the house at 607A Larkin, Mania and Kaminski said.

"It was as much of a defensive play as it was offensive," Mania said.

The properties at 607A, 607B and half a dozen other similar addresses on Larkin Road originally were part of the same parcel before they were subdivided, the real-estate agents said. D'Youville College took ownership of 607A Larkin in the 1960s, according to public records, but it wasn't immediately clear what the college did with the house and property before selling it to Lee in 1992.

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