Please use the navigation menu at bottom the Page       





                                                                                                                                                             St Mary of the Angels     Reist Mill     Historic Maps & Photos


History of Amherst State Park News Archives


Buffalo News,   April 22, 1998  by Patrick Lakamp

        Consultants told Amherst officials this week that paying $5 million for 100 acres owned by the Sisters of St. Francis would be a fair deal for the town.

       Appraisers valued the property, including the motherhouse, at $5 million.

       A town official agrees with the estimate.

       "I believe the estimated value of $5 million is a reasonable number," said Amherst Assessor Harry E. Williams.

       The appraisal comes as good news to those who want the town to buy the parcel, and follows last week's report that renovating the four-story motherhouse would cost Amherst less than some fear because consultants have found little asbestos or lead-based paint in the building.

       The property is now for sale, and the religious order has indicated it would prefer to sell to the town.

       In February, Town Board members voted to buy 100 acres owned by the order. Board members said they'd be willing to pay up to $5 million for the property. The purchase would be contingent on the state or federal governments or private sources coming up with at least half the purchase price.

       The property at 400 Mill St., just north of the Village of Williamsville, includes the sprawling St. Mary of the Angels motherhouse. The four-story building was built in the late 1920s.

       Northeastern Appraisal Associates of Williamsville conducted a limited appraisal for the town.

       The town hired the appraisal company to evaluate the value of the property, and town officials will use the information as they negotiate a price, said Town Supervisor Susan J. Grelick.

       Williams said the appraisers studied the sale prices of comparable parcels, including a recent deal in which Brompton Road residents will pay a developer $50,772 an acre for 8 acres of heavily wooded land in their neighborhood.

       The Town Board publicly voted to spend up to $5 million for the property, but Williams said that did not influence the appraisers to come up with a similar amount for the estimated value.

       "I told them to come up with whatever figure was supportable," he said. "They were not told to come up with $5 million." Another appraiser contacted by Williams concurred with the Northeastern's figure, Williams said.

       The appraisers estimated values on different parts of the land. They estimated the value of the motherhouse on 11 acres to be $2.5 million. The 7.7-acre parcel along Sheridan Drive was valued at about $1 million and the 3.8-acre parcel along Mill Street at $230,000. The remaining 67.5 acres, of which 57 acres is usable, were valued at $1.14 million, according to Jamie A. Peppas, principal appraiser, and Michael Gluc, president of Northeastern.

       Most Town Board members want the town to buy the land for a large, central park.

       The unique nature of the parcel makes it difficult to peg its monetary worth, he said.

       "What value do you put on Central Park in New York City or on Delaware Park in Buffalo?" asked Williams.

       Council Member William L. Kindel has said three other groups are interested in buying the motherhouse, including another religious order and two parties who would consider using the building for special-care senior citizens housing.

Back to History News Archives pagehnews.html