Sinatra and Co. Realty is planning to bring its 27 employees to the historic Market Arcade Building in downtown Buffalo by late summer, making it the first private owner of the property in 29 years.
“To be able to hang our flag near our projects in such a great building is the great thing about this,” said Matt Connors, Sinatra project manager.
The company’s proposal to purchase the Market Arcade Building at 615-623 Main St. for $1.4 million, or $167,000 more than its appraised value, won the unanimous support of the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency on Thursday.
“It gives some security in the sense that this building will be owner-occupied,” Brendan R. Mehaffy, executive director of the city’s Office of Strategic Planning, told the agency’s board. “This building will have an anchor tenant, this company is to some degree tying its identity to the success of this building.”
The city placed the property on the Multiple Listing Service in August, and received 12 inquiries, three of which it deemed serious. Sinatra made the last best offer, Mehaffy said.
“We need to look to remove from our inventory properties that are not necessary to operate,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “This is a really good example of the way we can do that.”
The deal – which does not include the Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre at 639 Main St. – must still be approved by the Common Council.
Sinatra and Co., viewed as a rising star in the local real estate market, is now headquartered at Delaware Avenue in Kenmore, but is planning to move into 8,000 square feet that was once occupied by Empire State College.
The company expects to hire three to five more employees in the next two years, and will begin renovations soon after the sale closes, Connors said.
“We thought it was important to be centrally located,” he said.
Sinatra and Co., founded by Nick Sinatra, has invested $25 million in the city so far, and has projects ongoing in the Elmwood Village, where it’s renovating apartments, and at Fenton Village at Main and West Ferry Streets, where an Ashker’s Juice Bar is planned.
The company also has plans to develop a parking lot at Michigan Avenue and Carlton Street at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
BURA, which has owned and marketed the property, did not have an easy time getting office tenants, Mehaffy said. There is no parking at the building, and the office space has an awkward layout, he said.
The company is hoping to acquire other properties nearby, which would offer parking, Connors said.
The company is hoping to negotiate long-term leases with the rest of the building’s existing tenants, which include Visit Buffalo Niagara, CEPA Gallery, Clinton Brown Company Architecture, Perfetto restaurant and the city control board, the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority.
The city acquired the property in 1985 and put $10 million into renovations.
The city will have to review the restrictions on the funds that were put into the building – at least some were from the federal government – in order to determine how the proceeds from the sale can be spent.
Formerly the Palace Arcade, the building was built in 1892 and designed by E.B. Green and William S. Wicks.