The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. on Tuesday approved the acquisition of another property in the Northland Belt Line Corridor, adding to the growing light-industrial and training campus that it's developing with more than $120 million in state and other funding.
The agency's board backed the $425,000 purchase of a 1.81-acre property at 714 Northland, including an 18,900-square foot facility that is fully leased to Well Worth Products, which just renewed its lease in August for another three years, at $72,000 per year. The one-story red-brick building was constructed in 1940, and also includes a 21-space parking lot.
But it's the rest of the property that is attractive to BUDC, because it offers potential for additional parking and future development. The site is almost directly across from 683 Northland Ave., the sprawling former Niagara Machine & Tool Works manufacturing facility that now contains the new Western New York Workforce Training Center. And it includes a large parking lot in front that hasn't been used in years.
"We felt this was ideal for the future growth of the Workforce Training Center, plus all our other holdings on the street, for us to create some auxiliary parking," said BUDC President Peter Cammarata.
Contractors have already conducted an environmental review and also inspected the building, roof and mechanicals. Cammarata said there were no major concerns, but officials did discover that the facility was originally the wood-mold carpentry fabrication area for Niagara Machine.
"The building is in good condition and we don’t have any major issues that we feel we’ll have to tackle in the first few years or so," Cammarata said.
The property was owned by Peter Carr, former owner of Well Worth, who retired and moved to Florida, Cammarata said. Carr's relatives were watching the property for him, but Cammarata said that both Carr and his family "got a little bit tired of that relationship and based on what he had seen happening in terms of the development of the neighborhood, decided this was a good time to sell."
"We're pretty excited about this property," Cammarata said. "We were surprised when we were contacted earlier this year by the property owner."
Cammarata said he expects Well Worth to remain in the facility even after the new lease is up, noting that a third of their employees are from the neighborhood. "This is one of the very viable companies that anchors what happens in Northland," he said. "They’re very pleased to be where they are."
BUDC already has the property under contract, with closing by the end of the month. The purchase will be financed with a loan from M&T Bank Corp.