The asking price for the cookie-cutter homes at Waterbury Estates have tumbled over $200,000.
The two most recent sales of the nearly identical homes, closed in December and January, were for about $650,000 each. These prices are significantly below the original asking price of $850,000, which many felt was inflated. Waterbury Estates contains a total of 47 two-family homes.
The community is breathing a sigh of relief that the developer Ciampa Estates has backed off its previously firm price. They hope the remaining homes will now sell.
“I think today’s economic reality made Ciampa lower his asking price,” said Anita Valenti, of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Community Association. “There are still about 20 unsold houses in Waterbury Estates.”
Valenti said that she felt that the homes were never intended for families, a concern that has troubled the community.
“I don’t think that they were meant to be the type of homes that someone raising a young family would be interested in because the rooms are really small,” Valenti stated. “I think the houses were geared toward single people who would use the rental income to pay property taxes.”
Besides the high initial asking price, many in the community thought that the site could have been put to better use before Ciampa began the development. This included calls for a large community center, post office with parking, or children’s museum at the site of the former Smithsonian storage facility.
Because of ill feelings, many are still not sold on the development.
“Ciampa Estates hasn’t been able to sell the houses,” said Tony Cannata, president of the Waterbury-LaSalle Civic Association. “The developer is stuck and struggling to get through the recession. I don’t even think the homes are worth the reduced price because the rooms are very small. There are no big deals at Waterbury Estates.”
Cannata expressed his frustration that the community was unable to win any concessions from Ciampa, which included asking the developer to surrender a small parcel of land to add parking spaces to the adjoining Pelham Bay Library.
Currently, the community’s major concern is an organization planning to move a group home into 3407 Bruckner Boulevard.
“The asking price for the group home is now more glaring – it is too high,” said Mary Jane Musano of WLCA. “I thought the original prices were inflated prices, so I am not surprised at this development. These most recent sale prices seem more in line for what a two-family house goes for in this area. It doesn’t make sense for these houses to sit vacant.”
The state has agreed to pay $730,000 for one of the units, $80,000 above the market value.