Another chance on Central Avenue

Maybe the purchase of the buildings on Central Avenue and Lark Street in the city of Dunkirk by the United Secular American Center for the Disabled Inc. was a good thing for Dunkirk.

Last summer, a number of residents voiced concern over the purchases of six buildings in downtown, specifically those along the 300 block of Central Avenue. Around the start of 2018, it became apparent the Center was not paying its bills on those properties and thus went into foreclosure.

Those properties then went to auction on Aug. 18 in Mayville. Enter the previous owners, the trust of Robert K. Lesser, which brought an opening bid of $480,000 for the properties. No one else put up a bid.

Ironically, Lesser’s sons James Best of Pound Ridge, N.Y., and Stanton Lesser of Connecticut, will now have title to the buildings again. What’s even better news is lines of communication began to open regarding what to put in those buildings thanks to Rebecca Yanus, city development director, being in attendance at the auction.

Best also made a promise on renovating the structures. “Should we keep the buildings, which it seems like we are, we’ve told everybody that we will keep them in pristine condition and do whatever it takes to renovate the buildings as necessary,” he said.

“We already authorized work to be done on the roof because there were problems there, even without owning it. We have no intention of letting it get run down.”

Since the Masonic Temple fire of 2010, Central Avenue in Dunkirk has lost a lot of life. There was a great deal of energy — and tenants — that building generated.

Central Avenue is one of the key points of a brownfield opportunity area, which also pinpoints the waterfront and Lake Shore Drive. This is an opportunity for Dunkirk, and most importantly, Central Avenue.

What happens next may depend on when the shovels hit the dirt for Athenex.