NYS Selling Surplus Properties in WNY

11:56 PM, Oct 18, 2013   |    comments
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Batavia Armory: PHoto Courtesy: http://properties.esd.ny.gov/

By Ashley Hupfl,

Albany Bureau

ALBANY There are five surplus properties up for auction in Monroe, Erie, Genesee, and Franklin over the next four weeks.

WEB EXTRA:  For more information on suplus properties, go to http://properties.esd.ny.gov/

In Monroe County, an 11.9-acre vacant lot and a 29,082-square-foot office building will be auctioned at a minimum bid of $700,000 and $250,000, respectively. In Erie County, a five-bedroom, 2,408-square-foot home is for sale starting at $25,000.

In Genesee County, the Batavia Armory, a 12,000-square-foot facility, is being auctioned with a minimum bid of $80,000.

In Franklin County, the former 90.71-acre "Camp Gabriels" correctional facility is up for auction starting at $90,000 minimum bid. The property has 55 structures that total 167,578-square-feet.

While these properties sit empty, they cost money to the state and taxpayers. The state tries to sell the properties at a reduced cost to relieve the burden on taxpayers, state officials said.

On Thursday, two properties were auctioned and sold.

In the Town of Kent, Putnam County, an 3.215 acre vacant lot was sold for the minimum bid of $30,000 with a $3,000 deposit required to bid.

In Ossining, Westchester County, a house located at 318 Spring Street sold for the minimum bid of $245,000. The 1,650 square-foot house had been home to the former superintendent to the Sing Sing Correctional Facility and is located not far from the prison. No one lived there lately so the state put the house up for auction.

Anyone may purchase the properties if they can provide the down payment that varies for each property.

"When someone else buys the [property], there's money spent on whatever the person wants to use it for, so that helps employ people and drive the economy. Many times it will become a business so it goes back on the tax rolls," said a spokeswoman for OGS, Heather Groll. "Communities benefit from that ,and they're not seeing an empty building sitting unused and deteriorating. It actually becomes a vibrant part of the community."

Recently, OGS has had greater success selling properties. A year and a half ago, they began to work as a team statewide with Empire State Development and the agencies that are selling the properties.

The state in recent years as closed some upstate prisons and centers for the developmentally disabled.

"We've really changed our marketing strategy," Groll said. "We've created the website, and we have videos of many of the properties."

Before, potential buyers could only go to open houses to see the properties that are now available online, she said.

In 2005, Scott Donaldson bought the Main Street Armory in Rochester at a state surplus auction.

Donaldson had been searching for a building big enough to start an entertainment venue business when he heard the Main Street Armory was up for auction.

"It was foreclosed on for back taxes. So they'll have a tax auction first, and then they'll offer it to anyone who wants to pay the taxes off. I was the only one at that auction; I'm the only one who showed up," Donaldson said.

He did not place a bid. A couple months later, Donaldson returned for the next auction and got it at lower price.

Donaldson bought the 138,000-square-foot building for $1,000, and since then said he has put a couple million dollars into renovating it because it was "a wreck."

The building is being converted into a restaurant and paintball facility.

A list and dates of properties up for auction is below:

• Oct. 29 - Former Camp Gabriels Correctional Facility, Town of Brighton (Franklin County)
• Nov. 13 - Batavia Armory, 235 State Street, Batavia (Genesee County)
• Nov. 13 - 6 Courtland Avenue, Buffalo (Erie County)
• Nov. 14 - 77 Halstead Street, Rochester (Monroe County)
• Nov. 14 - 11.19 Acres of Vacant Land, Town of Brighton (Monroe County)

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