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Dwindling Opportunity: 525 Main Street for Sale

The 500 block of Main Street is a bellwether of downtown’s fortunes. Run-down in the early-1980’s the City undertook a project to ‘improve’ the facades of the historic buildings across from the Hyatt, many of which still had retail and restaurant tenants. Soon after, with the pedestrian mall in full effect, the block’s fortunes declined along with the downtown retail and restaurant scene.

Today, car traffic is back and a handful of investors have poured their hearts and dollars into the block. If you are looking to join in, Hunt Commercial Real Estate has an opportunity for you. 525 Main Street, a three-story building with 8,353 sq.ft. of space, is on the market with a $550,000 asking price.

From the listing:

Tremendous opportunity to redevelop on the 500 block of Main Street in Buffalo Place district. One of the few buildings on this block with parking in the rear. Over 8,000 SF, great views of Main Street directly across from the Hyatt Hotel. All new infrastructure on Main Street with auto traffic, parking and new commerce have made this the place to be!

The building is located between Roger Trettel’s three-building redevelopment that will be anchored by Misuta Chow’s and Kevin Helfer and Paul Lamparelli’s renovated 535 Main Street that is home to D’Avolio’s Kitchen.

Assuming 525 Main is sold and redeveloped, that will leave just three 500 Block properties in need of new life: a vacant lot that once contained the Century Theater, the hideous former Burger King at 495 Main (below left), and James T. Sandoro’s four-story building at 529 Main (below right).

Get Connected: Patricia Sutliff, Hunt Commercial, 716.435.8499

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • Ra Cha Cha

    The old Burger King would make a perfect Garbage Plate joint. It would be the only place downtown where someone could get a white hot for lunch. It could expand its offerings in the evening with Rochester-style (Country Sweet) wings, and even a full line of Genny on tap.

    Who’s in?

    • Johnny Pizza

      Everything but the Genny, I’m in. I’ll substitute with Molson.

      • Ra Cha Cha

        No Genny?! You are not of the body!

  • Bludog

    The burger king location amazes me that no one is touching that unless they are asking a ridiculous amount…I think a Shake Shack would be great there

  • Louis Tully

    Jim Sandoro. How come he isn’t discussed more? I recall a conversation with someone that knows him and said he’s a fantastic guy. I don’t know him, I just know I’ve come across awesome buildings and when I go to see who owns it (why it is languishing) his name has appeared. As it does in this case with 529 Main. It has a lovely advertisement for his auto museum somewhere behind those filthy windows.

    I don’t doubt he’s a great guy – hell, Paladino has his days. But property owners are often called out on this site for various reasons. I don’t recall Mr. Sandoro coming up. Am I way off? 529 Main stands out, the stretch on Seneca including the Boarding House. Maybe I’m wrong. OARS lists 51 properties for Sandoro, James T., about half vacant land.

    • BlackRockLifer

      I knew him many years ago, he used to be the go to guy for antique car parts in the 1970’s. I dabbled in old cars at the time and remember him as a nice guy. He owned many old houses in the vicinity of Michigan and Swan and demolished many of them for surface parking. There were great examples of early Federal and Greek Revival brick houses on Swan, South Division, and Myrtle that disappeared one by one during the late 1970’s and early 80’s. He also owned the Fitch Creche on Swan, I helped salvage most of the interior woodwork and the high end period door surround when that house was demolished.

      • Louis Tully

        Wow. I wasn’t aware of that. Seems all the more reason to press the topic. And explains why so many of his properties are vacant land. Seems innocent, less expectation when the land is vacant versus letting a building deteriorate. Until you hear more of the story of how it became vacant land.

        Hearing you describe the houses in that area reminds me of a part of Mike Vogel’s book about the Canal District where he discusses that area, I believe he called it the Tenderloin District. Around Michigan/Exchange and up to Eagle I guess.

        OK I found an old email I sent to this guy named West Coast Perspective. Ever hear of this?
        so i guess the tenderloin district was used for the area around broadway and oak around the turn of the 20th century. crime and vice began to migrate away from the canal district (they called it the infected district) and the Tenderloin was the new home for vice. i tried looking into it, said it was in the 3rd precinct (ward?) but i can’t see a map that makes it clear enough

        • BlackRockLifer

          I worked as a roofer in the late 1970’s and my old boss told me Michigan Ave from around Seneca north to Genesee was known for speakeasys and various other types of after hours entertainment. There were also more reputable establishments like the Club Moonglow and Montgomerys Little Harlem ( both were still open in the 70’s)
          I remember there were many rooming houses in the area that were pretty rough.

  • Johnny Pizza

    “the hideous former Burger King”
    And that’s how you know that “Buffalo Rising” is really just Newell.

    • Chris Schmidt

      Not true.

      • Johnny Pizza

        Well I guess there is something you might know that I don’t, but I’ve read enough queenseyes articles to know he is pretty much the only one who can’t get through an article about buildings without throwing some property and its owner under the bus based on his personal opinion on aesthetics.

  • breckenridge

    I wonder how much of Main Street’s revival can be attributed to the car traffic, vs the overall streetscape improvements and the general momentum in the area. I walk this block almost daily during the work week, and traffic on the new sections of Main St is nearly non-existent. The parking is very limited and the narrow, shared trackbed/roadway is very narrow and somewhat confusing to navigate.

    That being said, they cannot get to the 400 block soon enough. The 500-600 blocks are like a new reborn city, yet the key 400 block connecting them to Lafayette Square and Court St. is filthy, reeks of urine and cigarettes, and is overrun with panhandlers, drug addicts, etc. I can’t imagine out of towners staying at the Hilton Garden Inn (which is quite nice btw) are left with a very good impression of Main St.

    • BuffaloGals

      I agree about car traffic. What’s there now is better than what was there a few years ago, but it really doesn’t seem like that was the best they could have done. It IS confusing and if there was any level of traffic at all, it’d be incredibly slow.