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Lockport's pitch: Buy old YMCA, get $1 million in incentives

The City of Lockport is offering $1 million in state-funded incentives to anyone who would like to buy and reuse the former Lockport YMCA.

The 93-year-old structure at 19 East Ave. – one of the largest buildings in downtown Lockport – closed in September when the YMCA opened a new facility in the Town of Lockport.

Now, YMCA Buffalo Niagara and the city's development agency are working together to sell the three-story, 33,360-square-foot building.

A request for proposals was released Monday. Prospective buyers must respond by March 18.

The building is eligible for up to $1 million in state aid, part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant the city was awarded last year, said Brian M. Smith, city planning and development director.

He said, however, the state probably won't act until July or later on the official request from the city's Greater Lockport Development Corp. to apply $1 million toward YMCA reuse.

Buddy Campbell, YMCA Buffalo Niagara president and CEO, said he and city officials will work together to find a suitable buyer. The YMCA, as owner, has final say.

"I think they'll take a recommendation from the people at the GLDC involved in this," Smith said.

The request for proposals envisions commercial, office or residential uses, and called market-rate apartments "a feasible and desired reuse." The building has a gymnasium and a swimming pool.

The building is next to Lockport's large former post office, now a multi-tenant facility, and the parking lot behind the YMCA is directly across Chestnut Street from Cornerstone Arena, a twin-rink ice complex.

The bidders must submit a detailed financial plan, including whether they want the state incentives.

The documents say the building is believed to be free of environmental hazards except for asbestos, which might need to be abated, depending on the purchaser's plans.

Campbell said the YMCA was approached previously by some potential buyers, but he said none of the conversations moved beyond the talking stage.

The YMCA will arrange appointments for those wanting to tour the building.

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