Downtown Buffalo's tallest building sold for $28 million Thursday in a foreclosure sale auction.
The purchase of One Seneca Tower is essentially a paper transaction because it was bought by the mortgage holder, LNR Properties, which is owed $91 million. But it clears the way for the almost completely empty building to be sold or developed from a clean financial slate, free of debts and liens.
Bidding in the building's auditorium started at $5 million. Only two parties participated in a back-and-forth process that lasted about 10 minutes.
The other other bidder was a New York City-based developer interested in the improving the local economic picture by purchasing a relatively inexpensive property by Manhattan standards.
The former HSBC Tower has been mostly vacant since the bank moved out in early 2013. Loca real estate experts say the building is likely to wind up in some kind of mixed use of retail, residential and office space buoyed by the continuing success of Canalside.
Lawyers for the mortgage-holder wouldn't talk about their plans. The deal is expected to close by the end of the month.