Land Bank taking bids for abating asbestos and demolishing Governors Motor Inn

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

The Governors Motor Inn on Route 20 in Guilderland, which had been in decline, has been boarded-up and vacant since a fire in 2010. The Albany County Land Bank has been trying for almost a year to find a new owner to bring it back into productive use.

GUILDERLAND — The Albany County Land Bank, which took ownership in 2018 of the Governors Motor Inn in Guilderland, is accepting bids through June 25 for asbestos abatement and demolition of the structure.

The land bank has been trying to sell the motor inn, on Route 20 in Guilderland, since last September. It has had interest, but no formal offers, the not-for-profit organization’s executive director, Adam Zaranko, told The Enterprise in February.

More recently, Zaranko told The Enterprise in an email this month, “Although we do not currently have any approved sales for the Motor Inn we have received interest in the property and we are working hard to eliminate the negative effects it’s had on the community for so many years.”

The land bank had set an asking price in September 2018 of $350,000 for the property, which includes the sprawling inn as well as a white house beside it.

The Albany County Land Bank was created in 2014; its primary mission, according to Zaranko, is to bring vacant and demolished properties to productive use. One way it does that, Zaranko wrote in an email on June 12, is by making investments and improvements, which vary widely, “from full rehabilitations, building stabilizations, building or lot clean outs, asbestos abatements, demolitions or a combination thereof.”  

The Governors Motor Inn is the first old motel that the land bank has owned, Zaranko told The Enterprise earlier.

Because the Governors Motor Inn is a unique property, he wrote this month, the land bank decided to put out the June 11 request for proposals because it “wants to obtain prices from contractors for the abatement and/or demolition to better inform our options for returning it to productive use.”

The land bank issues requests for proposals from time to time, Zaranko wrote, but whether or not it then makes the improvements depends on factors including the property and the proposals it receives.

The land bank has funded the demolition of about 80 blighted buildings over the last four years, Zaranko said, calling this “somewhat of a standard practice in our line of work”.

The Governors Motor Inn had its heyday a half-century ago when it featured live music and was a destination for couples going out to dine and dance. In more recent decades, it was rundown and rented rooms by the hour.

The Governors Motor Inn has been boarded up and vacant since suffering extensive fire damage in 2010.

The property had been on the commercial real-estate market for a year before being received by the land bank. It had originally been listed by CM Fox at $475,000, which real-estate agent Tony Trimarchi told The Enterprise reflected the need to pay off back taxes of more than $200,000.

A sale pending in February 2018 fell through in March; the would-be buyer had planned to put up a mixed-use building, but decided that the total cost of back taxes, demolition, and rebuilding was too great, Trimarchi told The Enterprise at the time. The asking price was lowered numerous times, finally to $275,000, he had said.

Albany County then moved forward with foreclosure proceedings, because of the number of years the property had been in arrears, and the process of transferring the property to the land bank began.

A buyer today would no longer need to pay back taxes, but would need to come up with a plan to either demolish the building and rebuild or to remove the asbestos and renovate the building.

The motor inn is in a Local Business zoning district. According to Guilderland’s zoning code, the types of businesses that could be built there include bed-and-breakfast inns; medical offices; and, with a special-use permit, sit-down restaurants; mixed-use buildings; garden facilities or nurseries; banks including drive-through lanes; local shopping centers; and assisted-living residential-care facilities.

 

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