Mayor Brown is seeking State help to get the vacant AM&A’s Department Store into capable redeveloper hands. The 350,000 sq.ft. complex, actually five separate buildings, has been dark since specialty retailer Taylors shuttered in 1999, four years after Bon Ton closed at the location.
According to Buffalo Business First, Brown has asked New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to force the building’s owners, New Horizons Acquisitions LLC, to sell the property. A similar forced sale was conducted at the Central Park Plaza, now owned by a subsidiary of LP Ciminelli and pegged for redevelopment.
Located at 129 Holden Street, Central Park Plaza was once a thriving property with many commercial tenants, but as a result of the failure of its owners to maintain the site and changing demographics and shopping patterns, the tenants left and it had become a neighborhood nuisance. Its Brooklyn-based owner was ordered to sell the property under a settlement with Schneiderman in 2012.
To the frustration of many, development plans have come and gone for the prime AM&A’s site, the largest fully-vacant building on Main Street downtown. Developer Rocco Termini has twice floated plans to redevelop the property but could not pull together a viable project. Termini did acquire the former AM&A’s warehouses at the corner of Washington and Eagle streets however. He paid New Horizons Acquisitions $720,000 for the four building complex and converted it into 48 apartments and 15,000 sq.ft. of commercial space. New Horizons purchased the warehouse buildings along with the main department store in 2006 for $2.05 million. Mayor Brown has been in office since 2005.