ADVERTISEMENT

For the first time since it was built nearly 60 years ago, West Seneca’s Southgate Plaza has changed hands. The family of builder Carl J. Lambein sold the sprawling complex for more than $17 million to the Campofelice family.

Jim Campofelice and his family paid $17.48 million through Southgate Associates LLC to buy the 550,000-square-foot neighborhood shopping plaza from the Lambeins, through Southgate Plaza Inc.

The shopping center, located at 3977 Seneca St. at Union Road, is almost 100 percent occupied, with more than 100 retail and office tenants, both national and local. The plaza also hosts numerous community events, including fundraisers for community organizations and nonprofits.

Southgate marketing director Stacy Berent said there are “no plans for changes” and “it’s business as usual.”

Born in March 1907, Lambein was a West Seneca banker for 30 years at Ebenezer State Bank before he retired and started his own construction firm in 1951.

He had already begun acquiring land and developing homes and subdivisions in the West Seneca area in the 1940s and 1950s, but was inspired by a plaza he saw in Williamsville. He purchased farmland next to the bank, where he built Southgate in 1954 and opened it a year later.

After his death in November 2009, ownership of the plaza passed to his wife, Marion, who died within the last year, prompting the sale of the plaza.

Meanwhile, the Campofelice family, which also owns Burgio & Campofelice, a commercial and industrial building contractor, has long had an attachment to the plaza as well. Jim Campofelice’s father, Frank Sr., was a superintendent for the general contractor who helped to build the plaza over 60 years ago. The acquisition closed on his 91st birthday.

“My brother Frank and I have always considered the Southgate Plaza to be one of the jewels of the Western New York retail landscape.” said Jim Campofelice, general manager of Southgate Associates. “When the opportunity to acquire it from Mr. Carl Lambein’s estate arose, it was quite an easy decision to make.”

email: jepstein@buffnews.com