Recorder News Staff

The Capital Regional Land Bank is moving forward to raze three dilapidated homes at the East End arterial entrance in Amsterdam before the end of the year.

The land bank issued request for proposals earlier this fall to demolish three structures from 42 to 48 Forbes Street, with several other buildings on John Street identified for future demolition. Bids are due by the Friday at 2 p.m.

Nicholas Zabawsky, of the Amsterdam Urban Renewal Agency, said approximately $380,000 is available for the lastest round of demolitions. One home costs approximately $30,000.

“We’re going to do as many as we can based on how the bids come in,” Zabawsky said Tuesday.

The other properties eyed for demolition includes 73, 19, 23, 33, 36 and 38 John St.

Mayor Michael Villa said he is pleased the demolitions are proceeding and hopes a developer will be attracted to the land along Forbes Street at the arterial.

“That’s a nice plot of land up there, so we’ll see if we can interest a developer,” Villa said. “It’s a pretty decent size property that will be available in a good location, so we’ll see what happens.”

Last week, Amsterdam officials signed an agreement with the Capital Region Land Bank to demolish the structures but Zabawsky said the Land Bank would not own the properties. He expects demolitions to occur in November.

Fifth Ward Alderman James Martuscello has advocated for the properties on Forbes Street to be razed for over a year, citing the traffic that passes the vacant homes as they enter the city from the East End and travel up the arterial ramp to access Route 5.

Martuscello said Tuesday he hopes there are enough funds left over to raze several more properties. He said all of the properties identified for demolition this round fall within the 5th Ward.

“Now that the Land Bank has the money, they’re going to do as many as they can until the money runs out,” He said. “Hopefully we’ll get more than three houses down.”

City officials had wanted to raze the three Forbes Street homes last year, but the properties were too expensive to be included. Villa at that time had estimated demolition to cost around $250,000 with asbestos abatement procedures included.

Earlier this year, Zabawsky estimated asbestos abatement to cost approximately $100,000. However, due to the extensive deterioration of the buildings, contractors can perform a controlled demolition without removing asbestos.

Zabawsky said there are safety concerns on the properties including a collapsed floor, water damage from leaking roofs and a tree that has grown inside one of the homes.

Yet, a controlled demolition isn’t necessarily less expensive than asbestos abatement. Zabawsky said since the waste will not be tested, it must be considered contaminated, which costs more to dump at a landfill.