Iskalo Development Co.’s deal to buy the Walker Center from Advantage Cos. founder Anthony Ragusa is off and headed to court over the $100,000 deposit Iskalo made last fall. So what happens now?
Ragusa likely will search for another buyer, though the for-sale sign probably won’t go back on the property until the State Supreme Court resolves the interpleader action concerning the deposit. No timeframe has been set by the court as of Feb. 24.
The 73,442-square-foot center has a prime location at 5110 Main St. in Williamsville, just off of the I-290 expressway. The New York Department of Transportation reports that 39,410 vehicles pass the property daily, heading from the I-290 into the Village of Williamsville.
“It has high visibility and is really a gateway into Williamsville,” said A.J. Baynes, Amherst Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. “It is still a very viable and strategic piece of commercial real estate.”
Just like last summer, any marketing of the Walker Center will be done against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has the gutted the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries.
“That does create some level of caution,” said David Mingoia, Amherst Industrial Development Agency executive director, CEO and CFO. “Hopefully they will find another buyer who might come in with a different mix of tenants.”
Last summer, Ragusa’s Walker Center L.P. put the property out to bid, with $23 million serving as the floor. Iskalo was the sole bidder, though the exact offer was never revealed and is redacted in court papers obtained by Buffalo Business First. The deal was supposed to close Dec. 15, but because of “unsatisfied conditions” outlined by Iskalo, the closing was pushed back and then later dropped.
The tony nature of the Walker Center and its tenant mix is a plus for potential buyers, said David Schiller, a broker with Pyramid Brokerage Co. of Buffalo. Existing tenants include Giancarlo’s Sicilian Steakhouse, Pine Pharmacy and a Tim Hortons.
“Upscale retailing and office space gives Williamsville a good future,” Schiller said. “Remember, Williamsville is really ‘downtown Amherst,’ and this property leads right into that.”
Mingoia predicted the property will sell quickly.
“It was what I call a diamond location,” Mingoia said. “The Walker Center has always been a successful showcase and retail destination for Amherst and Williamsville.”