A trio of Canadian brothers, who previously purchased and renovated the former Buffalo Athletic Club in downtown Buffalo, is taking a much bigger stake in Buffalo real estate, acquiring 18 properties from the Kissling Interests.
Gold Wynn Residential USA, an affiliate of the Toronto-based Wynn Group of Cos., said Monday that it bought a portfolio that includes Cathedral Place in downtown Buffalo and the Remington in North Tonawanda.
It's the largest real estate portfolio purchase in Buffalo in years, dwarfing Paul Kolkmeyer's purchase of five downtown office buildings from attorney David Sweet several years ago.
All told, the purchase encompasses 841 apartments and 85,000 square feet of commercial space, and includes all of Kissling's higher-end apartments.
The purchase price was not announced. But the Canadian company noted that the deal follows its sale in September 2018 of more than 4,500 residential units and 3 million square feet of commercial space in Toronto - the bulk of its real estate portfolio in that city - to Timbercreek Asset Management, for $1 billion. That will free up the Wynn Group to concentrate on the U.S. and foreign markets.
"This is a major investment in Buffalo and its future and we see it as a further demonstration of our confidence in this great city, its remarkable architecture and its improving future," said Jeff Wynn, one of the three Gold Wynn partners along with his brothers, Les and Paul. "We know Buffalo, have friends and relatives living here for years, and are proud to be part of Buffalo's resurgence."
Gold Wynn said it would retain Kissling's staff, giving it a combined total of about 50 people. Gold Wynn also said it would invest $5 million to upgrade some of the buildings over the next few years, but Wynn said that was only the start and only for basic improvements.
"We're putting a lot more money into that," Wynn said. "I wish it was only that little. We have a lot of work to do."
He noted that Cathedral Place and the Remington have already been renovated, but significantly more will be spent to redo apartments and restore historical features of many of the other buildings, which are scattered around the city.
"A lot of the big capital spending has been done in the older, historic structures, but as we did in the past, there will be a huge infusion of cap-x to bring the buildings to a much better level," he said. "It's a huge acquisition."
The Wynn Group was formed more than 40 years ago, and has investments in fitness clubs, renewable energy, storage, plastic injection molding and assembly, furniture and appliances, in addition to its real estate business. Besides Toronto and Buffalo, the company has holdings in Los Angeles, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Israel, through its Wynn Group International division.
Prior to the deal, the Gold Wynn division already owned and managed seven properties in the city, including the former Buffalo Athletic Club building at 69 Delaware Ave. and a residential building at 1165 Delaware Ave. Gold Wynn also owns multfamily properties in Tulsa, Okla., that state's second-largest city, where it has 15,00 apartments in seven buildings.
The deal - months in the works - was brokered by Chris and Dennis Greco of Greco Real Estate, who are also minority investors in the new properties, as well as in 69 Delaware. Wynn said Chris Greco introduced him to Kissling.
"Tony is well-known in your city. He's done some great projects there," Wynn said. "We want to continue on the same path as he's done with the rehab of the buildings, to bring them back to what they were."
Kissling Interests is a fourth-generation, family-owned investment company based in New York City and founded in 1870. CEO Anthony M. Kissling started buying Buffalo area properties in 1999 and at one time had more than 950 apartments in 19 buildings here. He called Buffalo his "adopted city."
"I bet on Buffalo in 1999 because of the striking architecture, the history, the layout of the city, etc., but especially because of the people," Kissling said. "The renovations and the updating of my properties had a ripple effect, and we now have selected the Wynns to be strong stewards to take the Kissling properties forward."
The acquired properties - some of which are combined for purposes of the purchase - include:
- The Gates Circle Apartments on Delaware Avenue
- Allentown Apartments, at 131 Allen St., with 17 units
- The Mansion on North, with 15 units
- 175 North St.
- West Huron Lofts, with eight units
- 249 North St.
- 257 Summer St.
- 398 and 400 Linwood Ave.
- 401 Delaware Ave., a five-story building with two commercial tenants and a restaurant
- 479 Delaware Ave.
- Allentown Lofts at 430 Virginia St.
- 712 and 718 Ashland Ave., with 12 two-bedroom apartments
- The two-story Townhomes at Delsan Court
- 209 Summer St.
- Buffalo Townhomes at Hertel Avenue
- 211 and 213 Summer St.
- 2096 and 2108 Delaware Ave.
- Remington Lofts in North Tonawanda
- The Ambassador, an eight-story building at 175 North St.
- Cathedral Place, at 298 Main St.