YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers is one step closer to extending its Saw Mill River daylighting project deeper into the downtown.
The Yonkers Industrial Development Agency has acquired five properties along New Main Street through negotiated purchase, it announced Tuesday. The only building that remains is a single property that officials say will be now acquired through the eminent domain process.
Once completed, the city-created New Main Street Development Corp. will own all the properties along the block from Ann Street to Nepperhan Avenue. The plan, officials said, is to empty the buildings as leases expire before removing them to expose the Saw Mill River and construct a public park.
“This will be a multiyear process, but acquiring the properties is the essential first step,” Mayor Mike Spano said.
In September, Yonkers celebrated the opening of the newly daylighted river and its surrounding park, named Van Der Donck Park, in Larkin Plaza. The acquisition of the New Main Street properties is at the center of the city’s goal of exposing the river from Larkin Plaza up through Mill Street courtyard to River Park Center.
According to the Yonkers IDA, the five properties it negotiated along New Main Street ranged in price from $275,000 for the building at 151B New Main St., to more than $1.5 million for the building at 135-141 New Main St.
Those prices were negotiated by the NMSDC, a public benefit corporation created by Yonkers to use $8 million in state funding granted in July 2012 to acquire properties for the next phase of the daylighting project.
All that’s left, officials say, is the acquisition of one final property at 155 New Main St. The NMSDC and the building owner could not come to terms on the value of the property, officials said, hitting a stalemate on the value of the land.
The NMSDC’s appraisal indicated the property is worth $350,000, but the owner has claimed a value of $750,000, officials said. The owner could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but city officials said the owner based his asking price on a recent sale.
“The property owner claimed a value that was several times higher than those of other comparable properties, and far higher than the NMSDC’s own independent appraisal indicated,” said IDA President Melvina Carter.
“Since public money is being used to acquire the property, it is essential that the development corporation does not overpay,” she added.
As a result, the city and the property owner will meet in a court-approved acquisition in which both the owner and the YIDA will submit evidence of a fair sales price.