City wants to sell landmark building

August 13, 2013 Updated Aug 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First

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City wants to sell landmark building

August 13, 2013 Updated Aug 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM EDT


The City of Buffalo has put a "for sale" sign on one of its architectural and historical landmarks.

City officials confirmed they are, through the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., attempting to sell the circa 1892 Market Arcade building. The building went on the market on Aug. 12.

The four-story, 65,000-square-foot building at 617 Main St., is going on the market at a time when interest is growing in key parcels within the central business district. It also comes as crews are working to bring vehicular traffic back to Main Street's 600 block. The current phase of the "Cars Sharing Main Street" initiative that runs between Tupper and Chippewa streets should be completed by early fall, changing the dynamic of the block.

Brendan Mehaffy, Buffalo's economic development point person, said the decision to put the Market Arcade up for sale came after he and Mayor Byron Brown fielded inquiries from potential buyers.

"It got to that point where it became obvious there is a lot of interest," Mehaffy said. "So, to be fair, we wanted to open it to everyone and see what the market will bear and we can make a decision from there."

The building, which was designed by noted architects Sidney Wicks and Edward Green, is about 75 percent leased. It is anchored by such tenants as Visit Buffalo Niagara, the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, CEPA Gallery, Perfetto's restaurant and the Flynn Battaglia architectural firm.

The sale is only for the Market Arcade building.

Mehaffy said a separate building that houses the Irish Classical Theater and 16 market-rate apartments is not for sale.

Buffalo, at various times in past mayoral administrations, considered selling the building. Plans never left the planning stage.

Mehaffy said the rebirth of downtown Buffalo, coupled with progress that "Cars Sharing Main Street" is making, made for a good time to see if potential buyers are serious about the Market Arcade.

"Downtown, today, is a different, stronger and better market than it was in years past," Mehaffy said. "We're at the point where the 'public' doesn't have to own the Market Arcade. Maybe we can find a buyer and put this building back on the tax rolls."

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