Erie County’s commercial real estate market cooled off slightly in March but heated up to a boil again in April, as another 76 deals closed over the two-month period, tallying up another $106 million in value.
Led by one deal for over $20 million and three more over $10 million, the activity continued the break-neck pace of the first two months of the year, with an almost identical spending total. At that rate, the market is on track for nearly $700 million in total commercial sales for the full year – a pace that brokers agree has not been seen here in years.
The biggest transaction involved the sale of three apartment complexes by Michael Joseph’s Clover Management to Matthew Cherry’s Glendale Development, for a total of $41 million.
In the largest component, Joseph sold the 528-unit Williamstowne Retirement Community, a senior apartment complex at 2940 William St. in Cheektowaga, for $23.5 million. Joseph acted through Williamstowne Apartments LP, while Cherry used Williamstowne Village LLC.
Cherry said the 33-acre property, which includes 51 buildings plus a clubhouse and was built in the early 1970s, is more than 90 percent occupied but has some deferred maintenance and capital investments that are needed. He plans to spend more than $1 million in improvements over the next 12 months, including remodeling the clubhouse, updating the units and common areas, and upgrading the roofs and paved surfaces.
Also in Cheektowaga, Cherry paid $15.5 million to buy Clover’s 315-unit Garden Village Apartments, a 17.9-acre campus, with 37 buildings of market-rate two-bedroom apartments. Located at 70 Garden Village Drive, the complex also dates to the early 1970s, and Cherry plans up to $2 million in upgrades and deferred maintenance.
Finally, he bought the 32-unit Fairways Apartments complex in Tonawanda, at 2410 Colvin Blvd., also from Clover, for $2 million.
Cherry’s firm, a subsidiary of Glendale Realty Services Group of Tonawanda, now owns and manages 2,800 apartment units, including 500 in the Rochester area, with the rest in Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, Cheektowaga and other communities. This is his first venture into senior housing, however.
“This particular property was just a large property that we saw some upside in,” he said of Williamstowne. “We thought we could get in at the right price per unit and compete well with some of the new stuff going up.”
Meanwhile, Wheatfield-based Calamar Enterprises, another senior housing developer, unveiled a new partnership last month with Mount Kellett Capital Management LP, a private investment adviser that manages real estate and other investments worldwide.
The new joint venture will include four of Calamar’s independent-living senior properties, all developed within the last five years, with over 400 units in all and a total purchase value of $50 million. Two of the four properties are in Western and Central New York, while the other two are in Omaha, Neb. Among the four is the Eagle Crest Senior Village at 100 Weiss Ave. in Orchard Park, which was acquired for $9.322 million.
Calamar will continue to operate and manage the facilities, while the new joint venture will seek to develop similar projects in the Northeast and Midwest, relying on Calamar’s experience with senior housing and Mount Kellett’s money.
Calamar has been developing and operating senior housing for over 25 years. Mount Kellett has 130 employees in New York, Dallas, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Ireland and Mauritius, with over $7 billion in assets under management.
“We are looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship and anticipate future opportunities together,” Calamar CEO Kenneth M. Franasiak said.
Among other deals:
• Diversified chemical company FMC Corp. sold its Peroxychem business unit to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s private-equity unit, One Equity Partners, in February. As part of the deal, Peroxychem acquired FMC’s Tonawanda plant at 35 Sawyer Ave. for $13.94 million in March.
• Peregrine Senior Living of Syracuse in March sold the Peregrine’s Landing Senior Community at 575 Cayuga Creek Road to New York City-based NorthStar Realty Finance Corp. for $12.5 million, but it will still be operated by the same management.
• Benderson Development Co. paid $3.8 million to buy the 55,000-square-foot Evans/Sheridan Plaza at 428-480 Evans St. and 5199 Sheridan Drive in Amherst from First Amherst Development Group. First Amherst also sold an adjacent gas station at 5215 Sheridan to Sunoco for $1.6 million.
• Buffalo General Medical Center transplant surgeon Fadi Dagher and a partner from the Middle East bought the former Buffalo Tourist Lodge at 1159 Main St. and 19 Dodge St. in Buffalo for $1.667 million. Fadi’s D&S Capital Real Estate II LLC now plans to convert the property into a Sleep Inn or similar hotel near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
• Developer Nick Sinatra’s Sinatra & Company Realty bought the former Phoenix Brewery Co. building at 835 Washington St. in Buffalo for $1.79 million from antiques dealer Joseph Parlato. Sinatra, whose financial backing comes from part of the Hyatt Hotel Corp.’s Pritzker family and another investor, plans to convert the 55,000-square-foot warehouse into high-end housing for the nearby medical campus.
• Benderson bought part of the One Canalside property from Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. at 125 Main St. in downtown Buffalo. The developer is finishing the conversion of the former Donovan State Office Building into the corporate headquarters for law firm Phillips Lytle LLP and a Courtyard by Marriott hotel.
• Richard Kronthaler sold a trio of multifamily apartment buildings at 1020, 1040 and 1050 Kenmore Ave. to a Grand Island investor called Dwell Development LLC for $1.7 million. Each is a three-story, 8,895-square-foot building, constructed in 1930, with 12 units.
To see more commercial real estate deals in Erie County, go online to The Buffalo News’ new searchable database, at www.buffalonews/data