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Statler on the Auction Block this August

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Carl L. Bucki, chief of the Western
District of New York ruled that Buffalo’s historic Statler Towers will be sold
at a public auction in mid-August by local auctioneer, Cash Cunningham.

Cunningham will conduct the auction of the 750,000 square
foot, 18-story commercial building on August 12th, at 11AM, on site.  Currently,
the Statler is set up with banquet facilities, hotel rooms and office space.

The current owner of The Statler, Bashar al-Issa of BSC Development
Buf LLC, was placed in involuntary bankruptcy and liquidation by the creditors.
It was thought that
a buyer was found last year, until the sale fell
through.

A seasoned and well-respected auctioneer, Cunningham says that
in terms of size, he’s auctioned a few buildings that approach the range of the
Statler.  As far as buyers go, he says he wouldn’t venture a guess as to
whether the buyer would be local or not, but he’s putting a push on a huge
marketing campaign that will reach potential buyers on an international level.  

“This building presents a great opportunity to own a
remarkable building with great sense of history in an area of Buffalo that’s
always been vital,” Cunningham says.  “Whether it goes for
$500,000 or $5 million, it’s a bargain.”

Though he says he thinks the crowd that gathers on August 12th may
be more media than bidders, Cunningham says that someone with the
“necessary vision and intestinal fortitude” will step forward.

Cunningham is familiar with the Statler, though he’s yet to
inspect every inch of it.  He says that interested parties will be able to
go through with their own teams in order to do the proper due diligence on
assessing the condition of the building prior to the auction, but he notes that
the building is in use now and had some structural rehabilitation under Issa’s
ownership. He concedes that there are issues to be resolved, both internal and
external.

“We live in this community, and we care about what happens
here,” Cunningham says.  “We want this building to go to someone
with the resources to make it beautiful once again.”

The auction was originally scheduled to be held by the court but
the creditors objected, citing a lack of professional marketing.  Subsequently,
Cunningham submitted a proposal for a marketing campaign and auction, which the
court accepted.  If anything, Cunningham worries about how banks will view
a project of this magnitude where a potential buyer is concerned, though he
points out that someone may be able to purchase the Statler “for less than
some single family homes sell for these days.”

Though the Statler is not currently on the National Register
of Historic Places
, Cunningham imagines that the new buyer would be able to
have it
listed, therefore cutting
the rehabilitation costs through tax credits and incentives.

Photographs and additional details about the real estate auction
can be found at
www.cashauction.com.

 


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