Monday, December 14, 2009

Williamsbridge crap on hold

From the NY Times:

Mr. Quintessenza has owned the site for about 15 years, and though his ambitions were high, the lot still sits empty, covered in weeds and gravel. A pile of rusty paint cans stand next to old metal beams leaning against the fence.

He had planned a grand building with a skylight in the center and a lobby filled with mosaics, a brick-and-mortar memorial to his son Joseph, who died of leukemia last April. The Joseph Nicholas Quintessenza Medical Arts Center would promote leukemia research and help disabled children, especially those with autism, like Joseph.

“I thought it would be a great tribute,” said Mr. Quintessenza, standing atop a pile of dirt. He designed the plans himself, stealing time from his work on the residential properties he owns throughout the Bronx. But he ran into zoning problems and, with the economic crisis battering the city, he was unable to line up prospective tenants or secure financing for construction. Now he said he’s left paying nearly $20,000 a year in property taxes for an empty lot.

The history of the weed-strewn site only makes the situation bleaker. A century-old mansion that was revered among local history lovers used to stand there, at the corner of Williamsbridge Road and Pierce Avenue. Mr. Quintessenza bought the building in 1994 and moved the offices of his company, Jocarl Management, inside while renting out space to two families and a real estate agent.

He said the property taxes became too punishing, and, against strong community opposition, he razed the house in 2006 with a plan to build a row of three-family homes.

Ok, he didn't "run into zoning problems". The zoning was changed because people like him were tearing down old historic homes and replacing them with multi-family crap. He demo'ed the former Arnow Mansion to try to sneak in the multi-family housing before the zoning was passed. When you are renting out two residential units and an office, the property taxes on a house you bought 15 years ago are more than covered. Sorry that your kid died but you're just a bad businessman.

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