Vacant Gibson buildings up for sale
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But eminent domain is more difficult when government is not taking the land for public use, Fare explained. In the case of 195 Rockaway Ave., which the village recently acquired through eminent domain, it will serve as a Village Hall annex, housing the courtroom, Code Enforcement, Public Safety and the Auxiliary Police.
Like the Gibson buildings, the Rockaway Avenue property was also for sale, but if the village took over the Gibson property, its purpose would be to turn it over to another developer. The village is not in the real estate business, Fare said, which is why eminent domain would be a last resort there.
In addition, the village would have to pay the owner fair market value for the property, and the land would come off the tax rolls while it was owned by the government. But Fare made it clear that those obstacles wouldn’t stop the village from claiming eminent domain if necessary. “It’s a little tricky,” he said, “but we can do it.”
One benefit of owning the land, Fare said, is that the village would at least be able to demolish the empty buildings, which have been a target of vandals over the past few years.
Minerva said that Bleicher is good about addressing complaints about the property, and fixes any violations. “My client has been very responsive,” he said.
Fare said he hopes that the “For Sale” sign will lead to some movement — and some hope for residents who have been staring at the vacant buildings for too long. If not, he added, the village won’t be afraid to act. “We’re not giving up,” he said.