Developer from Medina buys The Walsh, will soon acquire Holley Hotel

Photos by Tom Rivers: Rollin Hellner, founder and CEO of Hellner Development Company, is pictured Saturday outside The Walsh at 525 West Ave. in Medina. He purchased the building last Wednesday from Tim Cooper.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 February 2023 at 10:15 am

MEDINA – A Medina man with a real estate development business has acquired The Walsh and soon will buy the Holley Hotel.

Rollin Hellner, founder and CEO of Hellner Development Company, is only 29. He already has a real estate portfolio of several hundred thousand square feet with commercial and residential sites in Orleans, Niagara and Erie counties. He focuses on what he said are typically distressed properties.

Hellner lives in Medina in the Maple Crest, a 5,500-square-foot home that he renovated last year.

He had lived in Medina from 2015 to 2020 and was happy to come back to the village last year.

He has been friends with Tim Cooper for several years. Cooper bought The Walsh and worked three years on the first floor of the site. He opened a barroom and second tap room last summer.

Cooper had plans for the second and third floors, but will hand off the project to Hellner who is planning to make second floor apartments and third floor hotel rooms at The Walsh.

“He has a lot of energy and a lot of talent,” Cooper said about Hellner.

The new owner praised Cooper for his work at The Walsh, turning it into a popular gathering place for the community at 525 West Ave.

“Tim did a fantastic job with it,” Hellner said Saturday at The Walsh, as many people were coming into the tap room as part of the Wine About Winter event, with 800 people enjoying wine-tastings at 22 spots in Medina.

Cooper will stay on at The Walsh, managing the tap room.

“He did a lot of improvements that that brought back the original historic character,” Hellner said.

He also praised Cooper for creating a vibe at The Walsh that is focused on conversation and connecting with other people.

“We want it to continue to be a place where Medina residents feel comfortable,” Hellner said.

Rollin Hellner is his company will go through and renovate each of the 40 units at the Holley Hotel.

He also will close on buying the Holley Hotel on March 1. He has an agreement to start work on the site this week. There are some code violations that need to be resolved before people can move back into the building.

Residents in apartments at the Holley Hotel were forced to leave the site on Aug. 24 after the village code enforcement officer deemed the building was unsafe and unsanitary on Aug. 3. Residents were given three weeks to find alternative housing.

Some of the issues have been addressed, and Hellner and his team will work to get the site up to code. He said there will be a rebranding of the site, which will continue to be called the Holley Hotel. There are about 40 units in the Medina sandstone structure at the corner of Route 31 and Thomas Street.

There will be a screening process for tenants in the apartments, and he would like to offer hotel rooms. Initially, the units will be mostly apartments, but long-term he would like about half of the units to be hotel rooms. The building also includes two storefronts.

He said his development company will work on some parts of the outside of the building and go unit by unit inside, renovating the spaces.

“It’s a beautiful building,” Hellner said. “It’s very important piece of the Public Square.”

Mayor Mark Bower said he is very encouraged to see Hellner will be acquiring the site and putting resources into the building and giving it a new image in the community.

Hellner said he sees a lot of potential with Holley with its unique Public Square and its tourist attraction with the Holley Waterfalls.

His projects in Medina, Holley. Middleport, Lockport, Buffalo and Newfane are ambitious efforts, but Hellner said he sees the area as a good investment.

The properties in the villages are more affordable than in the suburbs, and he said he has a dedicated team that knows how to make the properties attractive for residents and businesses.

“I feel very good about a lot of the communities in Niagara and Orleans,” Hellner said. “We offer clean and affordable housing and real estate. I think there’s deals to be made here.”