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AM&A’s Sale Details Enough to Raise Eyebrows

The new downstate owners of the AM&A’s Department Store are planning a mix of residential, retail and hotel space for the Main Street complex.  Lanco H & L purchased the property earlier this week for $2.755 million for New Horizon Acquisitions.

New Horizon, which has been criticized for not following through with redevelopment plans since its purchase of the property in 2006, is not out of the picture.  New Horizon is holding the mortgage for the property.  Also, Lanco H & L is being required to hire the architectural firm New Horizons has been working with, EI Team.

The Buffalo News has the details:

Hormoz Mansouri, owner and president of EI Team Engineering Inc. of Tonawanda (website), said his firm worked with the previous owners of the building – New Horizon Acquisitions LLC, which is controlled by Apollon Group LLC of Roslyn Heights, N.Y. – and “has been in contact with the new owner.” He said the investor group has ‘deep pockets” and envisions some combination of uses for the building, but nothing is finalized yet.

While EI Team hasn’t been formally retained for the job, that appears to be a formality. The new owners are required to hire EI Team within 10 days of signing the mortgage “and make prompt payment for their services,” according to a clause in the mortgage document.

Lanco H & L is led by Li Li of Flushing, Queens, according to the deed filed with the Erie County Clerk’s Office. It was also registered to an address of a home care business run by Hao Li.

But the transaction has some unusual twists. For one thing, while EI Team hasn’t been formally retained for the job, that appears to be a formality. The new owners are required to hire EI Team within 10 days of signing the mortgage “and make prompt payment for their services,” according to a clause in the mortgage document.

Lanco H & L is led by Li Li of Flushing, Queens, according to the deed filed with the Erie County Clerk’s Office. It was also registered to an address of a home care business run by Hao Li.

Mansouri said he could not say who else is in the group, but said he believes they are acting independently of Apollon Group.

“To the best of my knowledge, each individual in the transaction is a legitimate person,” he said. “It is my understanding that it is a legitimate buyer with a deep pocket, that is sincerely looking to revitalize AM&A’s building.”

However, he declined to say why EI Team had been specified in the mortgage as the designated architect. He said his firm has been closely involved for some time and had been asked by the previous owner to talk with each of the interested buyers during negotiations.

According to The News, New Horizon is not out of the picture:

The holder of that $2.175 million mortgage is the old owner, New Horizon Acquisitions which is controlled by Apollon.

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New Horizon had come under pressure in recent months to repair or sell the building.  City officials went as far as asking the State Attorney General to intervene similar to the effort to sell the Central Park Plaza to LP Ciminelli.

The AM&A’s sale caught at least one capable developer off guard.  Hamister Group had been negotiating a purchase of the property but New Horizon backed off and cut the deal with Lanco H & L.  Hamister was planning up to 300 apartments and a ground floor retail marketplace for the long-vacant structure.

Written by WCPerspective

WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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