The Canadian brothers who have been buying up apartment properties around Buffalo in the last few years have snapped up another set of properties with nearly 200 apartments from developer Nick Sinatra.
Gold Wynn Residential USA – the American division of the Toronto-based Wynn Group – is paying $11.38 million for seven apartment buildings on six streets in city neighborhoods from downtown and the Lower West Side to Elmwood Village, the Delaware District and Main Street.
The buildings – which range in size from 24 to 43 units, with a total of 184 apartments – include:
- 49 Johnson Park, with 33 units
- 277 Linwood Ave., with 24 units
- 419 and 425 Porter Ave., with 35 apartments
- 520 Virginia St., with 43 units
- 2720 Main St., with 29 apartments
- 1022 Delaware Ave., with 20 units
“Downtown residential housing is doing very well now,” Wynn said. “There’s a lot of product coming up now. Absorption is great downtown. It’s really doing well. People want to live downtown.”
The Lower West Side, meanwhile, “is really, really becoming an appealing neighborhood now,” Wynn added, so “we’re just going with the flow with everyone else.” And “Linwood is a great location,” while “Main Street is happening,” he said, noting that the firm recently acquired an office building at the corner of Main and Summer streets.
This is the latest sale of apartment buildings by Sinatra & Co. Real Estate, which has been divesting itself of many of its smaller properties in the city and suburbs while it focuses on larger and more mixed-use projects. The developer now co-developing the former Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo campus into Elmwood Crossing, and has also been pursuing larger projects on Jefferson Avenue, in downtown Buffalo, and on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The deal, brokered by Chris Greco, has been in the works since December, but was delayed by the pandemic, which has prevented the Wynns from coming to Buffalo for months. The first portion of the deal closed Tuesday, covering six buildings for $10.18 million, with the remainder changing hands about a week from now, said Jeffrey Wynn, one of the three brothers who own and run the company.
The new owners plan to maintain the architectural details of the buildings – a primary feature and key part of why they wanted them – but will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to refurbish the common areas and update the individual apartments as they turn over, Wynn said. Most of the buildings were constructed in the first half of the 20th century.
“I buy buildings because I love the architectural features,” said Wynn, whose fondness for Art Deco in particular drove some of his past purchases and renovations. “Some of the buildings are impressive buildings architecturally.”
Moreover, Buffalo is poised for more growth, he added, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and other recent events on the emotions and mindset of residents elsewhere.
“You get a lot of people coming into the city from out of the city and out of state. They like Buffalo,” Wynn said. “You see what’s happening in New York City. People are leaving the big cities. In Toronto, they’re scared. In New York, they’re scared. They like the urbanism, but they like more open and less dense.”
And they like Buffalo’s greenspace, including the Olmsted park system and parkways, the reimagined LaSalle Park that is being converted into the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, and now Canalside.
“The benefit of Buffalo, thankfully, because it’s such a historic city, you have parks like a necklace around the whole city,” Wynn said. “in the post-Covid scenario, people like that. And Buffalo is going to do very, very well, post-Covid.”
The deal brings the Wynn family’s Buffalo portfolio up to about 1,500 apartments in 30 properties, almost all in the city of Buffalo, except for the Remington Lofts building in North Tonawanda. The portfolio, which includes the former Athletic Club of Buffalo Building at 69 Delaware and Cathedral Place on Main Street, also has about 300,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
“We are very, very Buffalo-centric,” Wynn said. “There is nothing outside the Buffalo boundaries, and we hope to continue investing, as long as the business climate is well.”
Published by The Buffalo News