New Beginning for Statler

March 16, 2011 Updated Mar 16, 2011 at 6:57 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

March 16, 2011 Updated Mar 16, 2011 at 6:57 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - It's now official, Buffalo Businessman Mark Croce is the new owner of the Statler Towers in Downtown Buffalo. A public ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon in the lobby of the vacant building to transfer the deed to Croce. The property has been mothballed for more than a year.

"This is going to be a center for activity," said Croce. "This will be the place for people to come. This will be the epicenter of downtown. We'll bring a lot back to this building."

Croce will renovate the building in 3 phases:
Phase 1: Stabilize the structure and repair exterior damage which includes the roof and crumbling façade.
Phase 2: Repopulate and renovate the 1st and 2nd floors.
Phase 3: Transform the towers into a mixed use.

Croce is paying $200,000 plus $500,000 in back taxes for the property. He's now trying to secure $5.3 million through public-private partnerships.