Demolition underway at troublesome Schley Ave. property

The house at 3011 Schley Avenue was demolished on Tuesday, December 4..
Schneps Community News Group/ Alex Mitchell

A longtime Throggs Neck eyesore is finally headed for a landfill.

The decrepit one-family home at 3011 Schley Avenue, which has been housing rats and mosquitoes, will soon be replaced by a brand new 2-family brick house

The current delapidated frame structure, which was condemned by the NYC Department of Buildings, began deteriorating 10 years ago under James Mau’s ownership.

Mau, an absentee owner, fought an uphill battle to maintain the home on the below-grade parcel despite enduring chronic flooding, which resulted in a basement and backyard that was reminescent of the Louisiana bayou.

According to neighbors the property’s basement and backyard often sat under at least a foot of water and emitted a foul odor, while also serving as a mosquito breeding ground.

“It languished for years as an eyesore to the community,” said Lynn Gerbino of the Throggs Neck Homeowners association. “Neighbors couldn’t even use their backyards because it was like a swamp back there,” Gerbino added, mentioning that because of the property’s low grade water would inadvertently run off onto neighboring properties.

The weed-infested backyard needed a sump pump running 24/7 to drain the swamp-like field, she said.

While that sparsely developed portion of Schley Avenue doesn’t have too many homes, the homeowners on adjacent Hollywood and Logan avenues, felt the ramifications of the property’s demise.

“The property faced trespassing too,” said Community Board 10 district manager Matt Cruz. He, along with the area’s elected officials, had been working with the city to devise a plan to rehabilitate the property.

The foreclosure process on the property was a lengthy one because it was difficult to track down the last owner. Besides, there was little left to salvage, Cruz said.

“After some years we realized (the house) was beyond rehabbing,” Cruz added.

It was around that time when Eric Totaram purchased the Fannie Mae mortgaged property in a foreclosure auction.

Having purchased 3011 Schley Avenue at the end of 2017, sight unseen, he was unaware of its poor condition or the neighbors’ ongoing frustrations.

Totaram immediately fenced off the property to prevent trespassing.

Totaram started razing the offensive structure as soon as he acquired a demolition permit.

He estimates the property to be fully demolished by Christmas the absolute latest.

“I’m not going to let it sit like other property owners (did),” Totaram said.

His plan is to replace the eyesore with a two-family home. Plans for the new detached brick house are still in the approval process, but Totaram has high hopes.

“This is the most progress that neighbors have seen in a decade down here,” he said. “We hope to have earned their trust and give the area something nice and give these neighbors their backyards back too,” the responsible property owner added.

As far as winning over the community goes, Gerbino is fully on board with the plan. “This would be wonderful for the neighborhood,” she said.

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