Twenty years after Kevin Michael Patrick Curry and Paul Michael Bliss teamed up to create what they called an “elite” new residential and commercial construction company, the last vestiges of their Patrick Homes and Patrick Group have been sold off.
Iskalo Development Corp. earlier this month completed its purchase of the former headquarters of the luxury homebuilder, closing the final chapter in the story of a startup company borne of a college student’s ambitious dream.
Almost exactly one year after Patrick Homes closed down for good because of a mixture of business and personal reasons, Williamsville-based Iskalo paid $2.125 million this month to acquire its former offices at 8600 Transit Road in East Amherst.
The relatively new two-story office building, located just north of Maple and Greiner roads, has 20,000 square feet of “Class A” space, which Iskalo is now marketing to potential new tenants. The building, which was constructed with tax incentives from the Amherst Industrial Development Agency, is technically still owned by the IDA for tax reasons but the lease is now held by Iskalo.
“8600 Transit Road is an impeccably finished professional office building,” said Paul Iskalo, the developer’s president and CEO. “The building is in move-in condition and, with its rich wood paneling, architectural detailing, decorative lighting and exquisite furnishes, is ideally suited for image-conscious professional service firms.”
The deal comes just two months after the sale of an adjacent 10,100-square-foot Class A office building at 8610 Transit – a former home that was converted into Patrick Center, the homebuilder’s original headquarters before it built its new facility next door. That building was acquired for $550,000 by Bliss, who now runs his own general contracting business, Bliss Construction.
Curry, who is now working as a consultant to other businesses, including homebuilders, declined to elaborate on the reasons behind Patrick Group’s demise, other than saying that economic conditions were a “contributing factor.” He said most of the decision was based on personal circumstances, and he still works on “some things” with Bliss, although he no longer owns a business and won’t necessarily stay in the industry.
According to the Patrick Group website, which is still active, the company was conceived by Curry – a Western New York native and summa cum laude graduate of University of Notre Dame – in a business class while he was still at school in Indiana. The goal was to provide a “broad array of elite construction and real estate services,” and Curry later fine-tuned his plan and knowledge while pursuing a law degree at University at Buffalo, the website says.
Curry joined with Bliss, an Arcade native who grew up on a dairy farm, but also had hands-on construction knowledge, an engineering background, and experience in construction management and estimating. The company was formed in 1992 in the spare bedroom of the first home Curry built, and began operations a year later with long days and a mixture of small commercial jobs, a few custom homes and minor speculative land development. Curry’s specialty was on the home construction side, while Bliss handled the commercial business.
The company expanded its commercial construction business, Patrick Development, in the Buffalo Niagara region and along the Thruway. And it built and expanded its new headquarters building.
In 2007, Bliss decided to sell his interest in Patrick Group back to Curry but remained as an employee running the commercial side, which by then had become the much more dominant part of the overall company. But while that business had been strong for a while, it got tougher during the downturn, as private-sector work dried up, Curry said. Ultimately, Curry decided in 2011 to stop pursuing public-sector work as well and to wind down the commercial construction division, while Bliss started his own company to stay in that line of work.
Meanwhile, Patrick Homes had remained profitable and successful, building hundreds of high-end homes and some entire neighborhoods throughout Erie County but mostly in the Northtowns, Curry said. Still, business ownership took a toll, so he opted to get out by the end of 2012, shutting the doors on the last day before putting the real estate up for sale.