Roads condemned for Costco valued at $686K

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Guilderland’s ghost neighborhood will soon be razed to make way for a Costco Wholesale. The town’s Industrial Development Agency recently accepted the appraised value of the condemned roads. 

GUILDERLAND — Approximately $686,000 will soon find its way into Guilderland’s coffers as the town’s Industrial Development Agency this week accepted the appraisal report for the town-owned condemned roads located on the future site of Costco Wholesale. 

“Contrary to the statements of some that the roads would be given away, the money from the transaction goes to the Town,” Donald Csaposs, the IDA’s chief executive officer, told The Enterprise by email. “The I.D.A. collects no portion of that amount.”

On June 25, Charles Malcomb, who represented the IDA in the most recent lawsuit attempting to stop the project, walked the board through the rest of the condemnation process. 

Malcomb explained the IDA had a two-part resolution to approve on Tuesday: consideration of the appraisal report regarding the condemnation and a resolution authorizing the continuation of the condemnation process. 

The IDA began the process last August, but was interrupted by the fifth lawsuit looking to halt construction, which has since been resolved in favor of the town and Pyramid.

Pyramid owns the land along Route 20 in front of Crossgates Mall where the Costco will be built, having secretly bought up the residential neighborhood years ago.

The IDA took the condemnation action in August 2023 because it determined that it was in the public interest to acquire the rights, restrictions, and property needed to facilitate the Costco project, Malcomb said, an action with which the justices of state Supreme Court’s Third Appellate Division agreed. 

Procedurally, the IDA’s next move was to determine what constituted just compensation for the rights, restrictions, and property it is acquiring, he said. The appraised value of the discontinued town roads was determined to be $685,710. 

Malcomb also noted the appraisal laid out the value the deed restrictions had on some of the 40-plus properties slated to be razed to make way for the new Costco.

“There’s also the value to each individual property of the right to enforce. For a large portion of the properties identified, the value of the deed restrictions themselves is indicated as having a negative value. That’s because the restrictions limit commercial development,” Malcomb said. “The way this was evaluated was by comparing the value of commercial development to residential development.”

Malcomb said, “By removing a restriction, you’re actually enhancing the value of the property.”

Removing the restrictions adds $1.37 million to the value of the properties. 

Malcomb went on to explain, “In order to actually acquire the rights, restrictions, and property, because the IDA is not a state agency, securing a court order is required. So we would need to commence an action in state Supreme Court.”

In New York State, there are two methods by which property may be taken  through eminent domain:

— The first is if you’re the state itself, which essentially only has to file with the local county clerk a map of the property it intends to take; and

— For all other governing bodies, condemnations begin by filing a petition to condemn in the supreme court — the lowest level in New York’s three-tiered system — where the property is located. After all parties are notified, the court typically grants the petition, allowing the filing of an acquisition map. The filing of the map vests the property’s title to the condemnor.

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