Debt could impede sale of prime downtown parking ramp

Jan 20, 2016

An 814-car parking ramp in downtown Buffalo could be yours if you’re willing to take on the debt.

One Seneca Tower’s four-story ramp will be auctioned off in March. The ramp’s proximity to downtown venues like Coca-Cola Field, HarborCenter and First Niagara Center makes it attractive. But the unpaid loan on the ramp could deter potential buyers, according to the court-appointed referee, attorney Peter Allen Weinmann.

“Part of the downside of purchasing the parking ramp at the auction is the fact that there is something along the lines of $65 million left on the note that’s being foreclosed upon. While a lot of people think the parking lot is valuable, I don’t think very many people think it’s worth close to $65 million,” Weinmann told WBFO.

Weinmann believes many people won’t find the lot worth its debt, but acknowledges the land’s potential for development will draw interested buyers. He thinks there are many factors that could entice buyers.

“There is a lot of potential for development there. The office tower is a class A property. However, of course, there is a glut of office space in downtown Buffalo. I think a lot of professionals and a lot of people who are familiar with downtown real estate think the property and the tower is prime for mixed-use development,” Weinmann added.

The auction is the final step in a legal process that started more than two years ago after the tower’s former owners defaulted on a $91 million loan. The tower itself was sold this past October. Some speculate the owners of the high-rise will purchase the ramp in order to sell the properties together in the future.