For the second time in three years, the county has put up a “for sale” sign on the former Erie County Home & Infirmary in Alden – but this time, the county is using a broker to market the property instead of going the for-sale-by-owner route.
And it’s hoping that will pay off, so it can return the property to the tax rolls while relieving taxpayers of maintenance burdens.
CBRE-Buffalo is advertising the sprawling rural property for sale nationwide in an effort to draw in more interest. The firm is positioning the land as ideal for “a variety of potential redevelopment uses,” including multifamily apartments, residential homes, warehouse and distribution, solar and manufacturing.
Located at 11580 Walden Ave., the rural site includes 152 acres of mostly wooded and grassy land, with multiple buildings at the front along the road. It includes about 94 acres of “usable” land, plus 38 acres of wetlands with floodplain restrictions. A county-owned pump station will be retained by the government.
In all, the campus includes 640,000 square feet of building space, with 414,000 square feet in three primary buildings along the “spine,” plus two adjacent buildings of 29,000 and 68,000 square feet, and another 116,000 square feet in auxiliary structures.
A sale would mark the end of the county’s long ownership of the property.
In 1928, the then-Erie County Board of Supervisors approved construction of a new Erie County Home on land donated by the Wende family. Often called the Wende Home, it housed people who needed care but lacked the money to pay for it privately.
It was close to the nearby Wende county penitentiary, which was later sold to the state to become a prison. The county built its new correctional facility across the street.
The Erie County Home was later operated by Erie County Medical Center as its nursing home, but the county closed the main facility in 2005, with the remaining operation – with 400 residents and 400 employees – relocated to the new Terrace View Long-Term Care Facility that replaced it.
ECMC Corp. – which was spun off from the county as a public benefit corporation – then transferred the vacant facilities and land back to the county in February 2016.
A study in 2013 had recommended that the county either demolish the buildings and sell the land or just sell it as-is, rather than trying to reuse it. So in 2018, the county Department of Public Works put it up for sale, with a sign on site that advertised its availability.
Despite a few inquiries, that effort never gained much traction, and then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, hindering further efforts, said county spokesman Peter Anderson.
Officials decided to take another stab, but this time put out a call for brokers to market it, resulting in the selection of CBRE, which was the only firm that responded to the request-for-proposals.
There is no minimum bid. However, the brokerage firm will get a flat fee of $65,000 for any sale under $1 million, but 6% of the sale price for transactions above that threshold.
Published by The Buffalo News