The New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities has agreed to examine the purchase price a group home’s sponsor has offered for a 2-family house in Waterbury Estates, the former Smithsonian property. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto requested a second real estate appraisal based on the fact that the current price, $825,000, is wholly inflated and unrealistically high in the current real estate market.
Community Board 10 members at their November meeting criticized the sponsor’s group home, which will occupy one house in the development at 3407 Bruckner Boulevard, because many feel that state money is being used to subsidize an over-priced project that is finding few misguided buyers.
Assemblyman Benedetto voiced no objection to the location of the proposed group home, but did feel that the State should to take a second look at the purchase price, which appears steep.
“As I understand it, [the asking price for] homes within the Waterbury Estates development is over $800,000,” wrote Assemblyman Benedetto in a letter to the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, dated December 1. “This cuts right to the heart of the problem. Why should the State pay so much money for a home…that no longer reflects current market rates?”
Benedetto said that other buyers who have placed deposits on other homes in Waterbury Estates have witnessed their homes depreciate in value while waiting to close, and the developer – Ciampa Estates – is not willing to renegotiate.
It appears that OMRDD had conducted a fair market value study when it first advised that the service provider – Community Action for Human Services – planned to locate a home for up to seven developmentally disabled individuals at the location.
However, with the real estate market – and everything else – in recession, OMRDD is planning to take a second look at the cost of the property.
“With reference to the property’s cost, OMRDD strictly adheres to the fair market process which involves an independent appraiser who determines the fair market value of the property,” stated Kathleen M. Broderick, associate commissioner at OMRDD. “This determination thus forms the basis of what OMRDD will approve the agency to pay on this project. However, OMRDD is currently in the process of reviewing the proposed plan with the agency and requesting a new and second independent fair market appraisal.”
Benedetto said that he was pleased that the property was being reappraised, as it would benefit all New York State taxpayers.
“I am glad they are going to do a second, independent study of the purchase price at that location,” Benedetto said. “They are listening and responding to us.”