LOCKPORT – Mortgage foreclosure proceedings began Friday against the owner of three major buildings in downtown Lockport, two of which are occupied by Niagara County government offices.
US Bank filed suit in State Supreme Court against 37 Holdings-Lockport, the owners of 50 and 111 Main St. and 20-40 East Ave.
The Sherman Oaks, Calif., real estate holding firm bought all the properties from Lockport developer David L. Ulrich in 2005 for $9.1 million.
It also took out a 10-year, $7.43 million mortgage from Citigroup at 5.66 percent annual interest, court papers said. Terms included interest-only payments of less than $40,000 a month until February 2009, when the monthly payment rose to $42,935.
Court papers said 37 Holdings hasn’t made a payment since August to US Bank, which is the third bank to hold the mortgage since it was written.However, property taxes are paid up for all the buildings, according to the county and city treasurer’s offices.
The building at 50 Main St. is a vacant former bank that until a year ago was the home of the corporate training center of Niagara County Community College’s Small Business Development Center.
A block to the east, 111 Main St., originally called the Golden Triangle Plaza, is home to several county departments, including the Lockport location of the Department of Motor Vehicles, along with the Board of Elections, the Office for the Aging, the Veterans Service Agency and the Human Resources Department.
Another block to the east, 20-40 East Ave. is the headquarters of the county Social Services Department.
The structure was originally a training center for the former Harrison Radiator Division.
County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz said the county learned of the foreclosure suit Friday morning, and County Attorney Claude A. Joerg was assigned to find out where the county should send its payments.
“We’re going to see where we stand with these guys,” Glatz said. “We had some issues last year because there were problems in the common areas, taking out the garbage, cleaning.”
The county signed a 10-year lease on 111 Main in 2002 and started a 15-year lease on 20-40 East Ave. the following year. Also in 2003, the lease on 111 Main was extended for six years so both would run out in the same year, 2018.
This year’s lease payments were more than $375,000 for 111 Main St. and nearly $545,000 for 20-40 East Ave.
Sheldon Berger, a Los Angeles attorney listed in court papers as a member of 37 Holdings, did not return a call seeking comment on the foreclosure Friday.