A new future for the former St. Columban Center

DERBY, N.Y. (WIVB) – A historic building on one of Western New York’s most prominent waterfronts, has new owners.

The St. Columban Center, a 20th century mansion in Derby, will now be turned into a wedding venue and resort.

The Diocese of Buffalo officially closed on the property as of Wednesday — for one $1.4 million dollars.

These new partners will be the first commercial owners the historic home has seen in its more than 70 years of operation.

Now it will be transformed into a wedding destination, and Italian-American restaurant. But they also plan to keep the legacies of those who have lived here very much alive.

Brenda Shaw first saw the property for sale last year. She said, “It was sent to me as a Facebook link to, ” hey check this out here’s your new job.”

And she immediately fell in love with it. She said, “I loved the history of it and the sweeping landscape.”

She and her business partner Dr. David Johnson have big plans for the complex. Dr. Johnson said, “I saw this place and I said this would be an incredible venue for weddings, for a restaurant, and for creative learning workshops.”

It’s been the Saint Columban Center for 70 years.

Built in 1914, the home originally served as a summer home for the Hans-Schmidt family. It is a history they plan to honor.

He said, “It made it a sacred place for me, and I think a lot of people feel that way about this place so many people have meditated here for so long.”

Shaw said, “This is a place for peace and healing and friendship.”

Shaw lost her son Daniel while serving in the u.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Plans are in the works to offer programs to veterans or to Gold Star families, in Daniel’s name.

Both Shaw and Johnson want to keep the complex open to the public, so the Western New York community can have access to the waterfront.

Those with teaching experience in the learning workshop areas and with questions regarding future wedding plans can contact Johnson and Shaw can be reached at SunCliffonthelake@gmail.com.

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