Developer Douglas Jemal has his limits. And he hit one of them on Friday.
After bidding twice for the Buffalo Niagara Marriott hotel at a foreclosure auction at Erie County Hall, Jemal backed down and allowed the lender to take possession of the 10-story Amherst hotel rather than bid over $15.5 million.
“I didn’t go any further than I thought it was worth,” said Jemal, who was the only other bidder.
As a result, the 356-room hotel on Millersport Highway, near the University of Buffalo’s North Campus, is now owned by mortgagees, represented by Rialto Capital Advisors, the special agent who administered the loan for investors.
Rialto is expected to eventually look for a new owner, although Jemal has said he won’t bid as much if it happens again.
Built in 1981 on 10.6 acres, the area’s fifth-largest hotel was owned by a division of Cranston, RI-based Procaccianti Cos., which acquired it in 2007 for $31 million, borrowed $25 million dollars and defaulted on the loan during the pandemic. The hotel is still open, managed by BNNY Associates, a Philadelphia-based subsidiary of GF Hotels & Resorts.
Friday’s auction marks one of the only locally known times when Jemal’s pockets weren’t deep enough or he decided not to touch them to land a property he wanted. Jemal has otherwise won out on nearly every other bidding or buying opportunity, including the Seneca One Tower, the former Buffalo Police Headquarters, the Statler and Hyatt Regency Buffalo, the Boulevard Mall, the Mahoney State Office Building and the Mohawk Ramp.