Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bronx estate to be developed

From the Wall Street Journal:

Back in 1980, a plan to develop a wooded estate property in the Bronx seemed like a brilliant compromise for both environmentalists trying to preserve a natural area and real-estate interests looking to put up houses there.

A 10.4-acre Delafield Estates in Riverdale that once belonged to Edward C. Delafield, an early president of the Bank of America, was to be the site of a gated community of 33 compact houses, clustered together in small groups, while the rest of the property would be turned into a shared woodland. The Georgian-style Delafield Mansion would become a home for three families.

But more than 30 years later, only nine of the clustered houses are occupied. The 19th-century mansion is gone, destroyed by fire, and the woodland is pockmarked with old foundations overgrown with small trees and weeds. A pond at the property entrance is mostly swamp. Three teams of developers have tried and failed to finish the project.

Now Delafield Estates is getting a fourth chance. A bankruptcy trustee is scheduled to auction off two partly finished houses on Dec. 1. The trustee is working on plans to auction off the remaining 22 development lots early next year.

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