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Croce and Eagan Place Bid For Buffalo Statler Building | News

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Croce and Eagan Place Bid For Buffalo Statler Building

BUFFALO, NY - Two Buffalo businessmen have become the latest to try and breath new life into the mothballed Statler Towers building downtown, hoping to succeed where others have failed.

According to documents filed in US Bankruptcy Court, a purchase agreement was signed on July 21 between the bankruptcy trustee in charge of the building's disposition and a yet to be named entity headed by Mark Croce and James Eagan.

Croce is President of Buffalo Development Corporation and owns several downtown properties including the Buffalo Chophouse restaurant and the Curtiss Building, which he is currently converting into a boutique hotel at the corner of Franklin and West Huron streets.

Egan is a partner and Executive Vice President of Midwood Financial Services

The documents reveal the two have already put down a deposit of $100,000 toward an agreed purchase price of $200,000 for the landmark structure, which once was the jewel of the Statler Hotel chain.

The agreement also stipulates they'd also be responsible for back taxes, sewer and water bills, and other liabilities which are currently believed total about $500,000, bringing the actual amount needed to close the deal to close to $700,000.

That's about half of what the most recent party to try and make a go of the Statler, New Buffalo Statler Redevelopment, bid for the place at a bankruptcy auction roughly a year ago before failing to come up with the money to consummate the deal.

As to what Croce and company have envisioned for the Statler, he wont say, telling WGRZ-TV, "it's simply too early in the process to comment."

Less than 10 months ago Croce said he "never considered" even looking at the property.

"It's just a monster project, ..you have almost 800,000 square feet (and) the property has almost no value the way it sits now because of the tremendous amount of rehab that needs to be done to even make it rentable again,"Croce said in an October 19, 2009 interview with Channel 2.

At the time, Croce said it would take a developer with very deep pockets and a massive infusion of government subsidies to even consider saving the Statler.

"It will be done by the right group at the right time, but I just think with the current economy, marketplace and the nature of the rental real estate market in downtown Buffalo it's going be a project for another day," Croce said then.

Today Croce also declined to comment on what convinced him to pursue this latest venture.

One week from now, a bankruptcy judge will hold a hearing on this latest purchase bid.

Other parties could still come forward and outbid Croce and Eagan, but they'd have to bid at least $800,000 and show proof they have at least $1.5 million liquid assets to qualify as buyers.


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