4-8-19 As seen in Buffalo Business First - Monarch 716 has new owners, but for how long?

Posted on April 08, 2019

Monarch 716 has new owners, but for how long?

By James Fink – Reporter, Buffalo Business First

Apr 8, 2019, 12:01pm EDT

The Monarch 716 student housing complex, which primarily caters to SUNY Buffalo State students, has a new owner, but not for long.

Acres Capital LLC, which is owed $47,665,183 in back mortgage and other related fees for the Forest Avenue complex, was the winning bidder in a court-ordered foreclosure auction Monday morning.

Monarch 716 remains open and will continue to lease its suites, but under new management. It has a 38 percent occupancy rate. In the meantime, Acres Capital will likely attempt to find a buyer.

“They will attempt to sell it, or find someone to co-venture it,” said William Savino, Woods Oviatt Gilman LLPpartner and Acres Capital local attorney.

A brief bidding flurry, overseen by court-appointed referee Raymond Walter, Magavern Magavern Grimm LLP partner, took place between John McAndrew, a Woods Oviatt Gilman partner, and local real estate investor Jim Swiezy. Bidding began at $10 million and after a nine-bid volley, Acres offered a $14 million credit bid, backed by its secured position as the project’s lender.

Savino said unless a bid surpassed what Acres Capital set as a confidential benchmark, it was determined to be the highest bidder,

“The bank chose to take title on its own account rather than let the property go to the ‘highest’ bidder,” Savino said.

The auction was the latest chapter for the financially ailing project that opened two years ago. It follows a request granted by state Supreme Court Justice Deborah Chimes on behalf of the project’s lenders. Acres Capital is the acting administrative agent for Reliance Standard Life Insurance, Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co. and Safety National Casualty Corp., according to court documents.

Monarch 716 was developed by DHD Ventures, a Rochester-based firm. The complex, built on the former Westwood-Squibb Pharmaceuticals plant property, has 10 buildings with 176 suites, enough to house 592 students. Amenities include a clubhouse and pool.

John K. McAndrew

William F. Savino