NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. –Blue Cardinal Capital, on behalf of its investors, has acquired an extensive Niagara Falls real estate portfolio, including many of the City’s most historically significant buildings. The most notable building within the assembly is the former Jenss department store, an iconic feature of the old downtown shopping district of the City.
This transaction commences the third phase of a long-envisioned plan to revitalize the northern Niagara Falls neighborhood. Phase one began with the construction of the Niagara Falls International Rail Station and restoration and reuse of the Old Customhouse, which was completed in 2016 and now also houses the Underground Railroad Interpretive Center. Phase two commenced earlier this year with the ongoing removal of the Robert Moses Parkway.
“It was an honor to announce this transaction because I believe that the acquisition and renovation of these properties may be the most significant step forward that our City could take. It will be a great comfort to leave office knowing the redevelopment of this neighborhood has started and it is in good hands,” Mayor Dyster said. “The team at Blue Cardinal has worked tirelessly with our team at City Hall to put a redevelopment plan in-place while adopting the vision of the City and our many stakeholders,” he added.
The portfolio, which comprises 38 parcels total and 21 located along Main Street, was sold by Niagara Falls local Richard Hastings who had assembled the group of properties over the past two-plus decades. These parcels, almost all located in an Opportunity Zone, include over 200,000 square feet of re-developable structures and over two acres of vacant infill development land.
Some investors participating in this investment are taking advantage of the Opportunity Zone program, which allows investors to contribute capital gains from a previous investment to a new investment within a targeted investment area. These investors achieve a deferral and reduction of the capital gains tax on the previous investment. Profits on the new investment would also be exempt from capital gains tax. The investment in the Hastings property is the first reported purchase by an Opportunity Zone fund in Upstate New York.
“We are excited to embark on the redevelopment and restoration of this historic neighborhood. The area around the Whirlpool Bridge and international rail crossing holds great promise,” Blue Cardinal Managing Partner Bob Richardson stated. “It is the closest US neighborhood and business district to the Greater Toronto metropolitan area, one of the hottest real estate markets in the world.”
“Now that the community is being liberated from the chokehold of the Robert Moses Parkway, its true potential can be realized. Our many well-built properties along Main Street will offer stunning views and immediate access to the expanded Niagara Falls State Park and the Niagara River Gorge. These unique amenities, along with the reprogramming we envision, will make it a vibrant place for Western New Yorkers to live, work and play,” he added.
While the complete restoration of the historic buildings will take time and the progress will be deliberate, Blue Cardinal plans to triage the buildings and start an immediate capital maintenance program to stabilize the buildings while a thorough evaluation of the best use for each property is completed.