The Examiner

P’ville Office Park to Be Sold, Redeveloped for Residences

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Mayor Peter Scherer and the Pleasantville Village Board discussed the potential sale of a vacant Washington Avenue office park last Monday.

An office park on Washington Avenue in Pleasantville that has been abandoned for more than two years and has contributed to a neighborhood flooding problem could soon be sold.
Village officials revealed last week that the nearly 18-acre property at 485 Washington Ave. owned by Benenson Capital Partners LLC of Manhattan may be acquired by a residential developer. The property was formerly used as an office park and is zoned for campus use.
Mayor Peter Scherer declined to identify the potential buyer, waiting until the village receives confirmation of a purchase before revealing any details. Officials have said they prefer to see the construction of fee-simple properties, which are generally single-family houses, rather than condominiums due to favorable tax implications for the municipality.
“The building is in declining condition and it’s a bad thing all around,” Scherer said. “It reduces the value of the property. This would be very important.”
Benenson representatives and village board members do not believe the property could be sold and continued to be used as an office park due to the high vacancy rate of similarly zoned property throughout the region.
“It’s probably not a great investment, short of some specific company that wants to be in Pleasantville in an environment with an awful lot of office space,” Scherer said of the 40,000-square-foot building. “You’d be investing a lot of money in rehabbing that building.”
The potential buyer hasn’t discussed a firm proposal, although the needed zoning change to a residential use will mean opportunities for the public to provide input, Scherer said. The potential buyer is still in the process of examining the property before committing to an agreement.
A Benenson spokesman said Monday the property has been for sale for almost 3 years. He declined to discuss any further details.
Benenson has come under fire in recent years for its poor stormwater management that has led to flooding of properties across the street from the campus during significant rains. The abandoned property has been strewn with litter that washes up on nearby residential properties during rainfalls.
The village has issued numerous violations, including one before Hurricane Irene, for failure to prevent stormwater runoff. However, enforcement by the village has had little impact on Benenson improving maintenance of the property.
Washington Avenue resident Patricia Tanner, who has charged that debris from the campus flows onto her property during storms, said the owner has been uncooperative with her and her neighbors.
“Flooding is a constant concern,” Tanner said. “The 18-plus acres of property has been vacant for over two years now and is in a state of disrepair. There is no way of knowing what the next storm will bring.”
Scherer said the sale of the property and redevelopment for residential use would increase tax revenue for Pleasantville, but any application would require an extensive stormwater management plan.
“We have a run-off problem that has gotten worse,” Scherer said. “Things have deteriorated. Benenson is currently carrying some violations from the village and the county. It would be good news for the residents across the street. There would be improvement.”

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