Recorder file photo The Capital Region Land Bank is planning to demolish these three homes located on Forbes Street in Amsterdam.


Recorder News Staff

Three dilapidated homes Amsterdam officials have longed to see razed at the East End arterial entrance in the city are slated to be demolished by the fall.

The Capital Regional Land Bank has agreed to solicit bids for three structures from 42 to 48 Forbes Street, with several other buildings on John Street identified for future demolition, Nicholas Zabawsky, of the Amsterdam Urban Renewal Agency, said Tuesday.

“We’ve identified properties primarily on Forbes Street and John Street that are in a hazardous condition and need to come down,” Zabawsky said.

Approximately $260,000 in land bank funds will be used on the demolitions.

The properties on Forbes Street were initially identified as a priority more than a year ago by Fifth Ward Alderman James Martuscello who said Tuesday he believes removing the building would provide a better first impression to visitors.

He said the vast majority of traffic entering Amsterdam from the East End travels up the arterial ramp to access Route 5, so some initial sights are the Stewart’s Shop, Calvary Assembly of God church and the three abandoned homes.

“It’s taken a long time, but those houses are one of my priorities that I think needs to be done,” Martuscello said. “There’s houses in the East End that need to be demolished and I think that’s going to make the city look even more approachable to people coming in from out of town.”

City officials had wanted to raze the Forbes Street homes during a prior round of demolitions approved in October, but the properties proved too expensive to include at that time.

Mayor Michael Villa had estimated at that time demolishing the trio would cost around $250,000 with asbestos abatement procedures included.

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

“We don’t want people dying just to get an asbestos test,” Zabawsky said, explaining that the floor has collapsed in some of the homes and rain has leaked through the roofs for years. A tree is also reportedly growing in the center of one house.

Yet, a controlled demolition isn’t necessarily less expensive than asbestos abatement procedures.

Zabawsky said all waste from a controlled demolition is considered contaminated, which costs more to dump at a landfill. The demolition waste must be assumed to contain asbestos since the homes will not be tested.

Five homes on John Street are also targeted for demolition, but Zabawsky said it depends how much funding is left over after Forbes Street is finished.

“A couple of them are right next door to well kept houses,” He said about the John Street properties. “It would be a real nice favor to those people who are taking good care of their property that their houses get taken care of if possible.”

He said 19, 23, 33, 36 and 38 John St. are eyed for demolition.

Zabawsky said the Forbes Street homes would likely be the base bid and the John Street properties would be included as alternates, so there would be flexibility to demolish as many as possible. The cost to demolish a home typically costs about $30,000, he said.

Amsterdam officials signed off last week on forgiving a $30,000 loan the city had provided to the Capital Region Land Bank as start up funds, contingent upon the land bank providing an additional $30,000 for demolitions in Amsterdam.

Grant funds allocated through the state Attorney General’s Office to Amsterdam for demolitions totaled $230,000, so the loan forgiveness agreement increased the total to $260,000.