Florida real estate fund buys Bewley Building

US&J FILE PHOTOThe 90-year-old Bewley Building,  a historic landmark at Market and Main streets, has been acquired by Castello Bewley, a subsidiary of Orlando, Florida-based Castello Holdings, which has purchased dozens of residential properties in Lockport and Niagara Falls over the past year. 

A subsidiary of an Orlando, Fla.-based real estate fund has closed on a deal to purchase the 90-year-old Bewley Building, a registered historic landmark that is among the largest structures in Lockport.

Castello Bewley, a subsidiary of Castello Holdings, closed on the deal with the previous owners, Bewley Building Associates, Oct. 29. 

Castello Holdings co-owner Matthew Martin said the subsidiary plans to renovate the interior of the Bewley Building, replace the electrical system and eventually find new tenants for the building, which has a 10 to 12 percent vacancy rate.

"We want to keep everyone who is a tenant of ours and expand on what is available," Martin said. 

Over the past year, Castello Holdings has purchased dozens of residential properties in Lockport and Niagara Falls.

"We think it’s a great market," Martin said.

The building was raised in 1929 on the foundation of the old Hodge Opera House, an ornate building and popular theater that was built in 1872. After a fire destroyed the first opera house in 1881, it was promptly rebuilt and hosted a memorial service for President William McKinley, who was assassinated in Buffalo in 1901. The second Hodge Opera House was converted into offices in 1914 and was again destroyed by fire in 1928.

Since 2005, the Bewley Building has undergone extensive renovations, including addition of new marble, awnings, windows and doors, aimed at restoring its 1929 appearance.

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