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Historic Welch Building Again Up For Sale

The Welch building in downtown Westfield is again up for sale after a development deal first announced in December 2019 failed to close. Local and county officials have long attempted to find a suitor for the historic property. P-J file photo

WESTFIELD — The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council in the spring of 2018 identified 16 priority projects for promotion. The goal was to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for properties in need of new life.

One of the projects identified sought to transform the historic Welch building in downtown Westfield into a multi-use property. Nearly three years later, and a deal involving a Buffalo development group that has since fallen through, the Portage Street property is again on the market.

Hanna Commercial Real Estate has the 49,000-square-foot building listed for $495,000. The Welch building was constructed in 1910 and used as the company’s headquarters until the mid-1980s.

The town of Westfield purchased the property in 2014, a move that was later criticized in an audit by the New York State Comptroller’s Office.

Town Supervisor Martha Bills defended the purchase, not wanting the building to sit vacant. She referenced the Portage Inn, an iconic century-old warehouse-turned-hotel, that was demolished in December 2015 after sitting empty and falling into disrepair.

The Welch building is on the state and national registers of Historic Buildings.

In December 2019, the Westfield Town Board approved selling the four-story building to Landmark Development Consortium LLC of Buffalo for $350,000. Initial plans included $5 million in renovations that would have converted the property into commercial and retail space with apartments in the upper floors.

However, the deal never came through — a victim of bad timing with the COVID-19 pandemic arriving just months after the announcement.

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