‘Zombie’ house at busy Niskayuna intersection to be demolished


By Stephen Williams

Daily Gazette Reporter

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 9:20 p.m. Richard Ruzzo’s name was spelled incorrectly.

NISKAYUNA — The Capital Region Land Bank has awarded $30,000 to pay for the acquisition and demolition of a badly deteriorated “zombie” house at Union Street and Balltown Road in Niskayuna, one of the town’s busiest residential intersections.

“We are pleased that the land bank is going to demolish one of the most blighted properties at one of the most visible intersections in Schenectady County,” said Richard Ruzzo, a Schenectady County legislator who is chairman of the land bank.

The land bank board approved the spending at a meeting Tuesday night.

The land bank’s mission includes demolition of abandoned properties when their condition is an obstacle to redevelopment. The funding for such demolitions comes from a bank fraud settlement negotiated by state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

The property, at 1840 Union St., is marked by a large red X to indicate its condition is unsafe for even police and firefighters to enter. The property went through a lengthy foreclosure proceeding, during which the house was not maintained. But county officials said it is now cleared for sale.

It is owned by MTGLQ Investors LP, of Irving, Texas, according to county tax records.

Following demolition, a private developer is expected to build a new single-family home on the property, county officials said. That is in keeping with current zoning for the property, which has been targeted for commercial development in the recent past.

“We are pleased that our efforts to find a better outcome for this property have won the day,” said Town Supervisor Joe Landry, while thanking the land bank for its involvement.

A developer last summer proposed buying the property and putting an small corporate officer there, but Lecce Group withdrew that proposal in the face of opposition from neighbors. Lecce Group Chief Operating Officer Shane Maher said Lecce is no longer involved with the property or its potential redevelopment.

County spokesman Joe McQueen said the demolition is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2018.

“This blighted, abandoned building sits in the center of our town, and I have worked for years to address it,” said Niskayuna Town Board member Denise Murphy McGraw, the deputy town supervisor. “I would like to thank the land bank for working with us to remove this unsafe and unsightly property.”

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086,swilliams@dailygazette.net or @gazettesteve on Twitter. Daily Gazette reporter Kristen Schultz contributed to this story.