Land Bank Sells Two Properties

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The Newburgh Community Land Bank has acquired a few properties in the City with the hopes of facilitating the sales of vacant and abandoned properties. The have successfully sold two large properties, 188 Grand and 197 Lander. The property above, 197 Lander has been vacant for quite some time and it is such a shame to see it in the state that it’s currently in. It is such a handsome building, in fact all of the buildings on this block exemplify beautiful Newburgh architecture. Hopefully this new purchase will spawn real rehabilitation to be done here.

The church over on 188 Grand has now also been sold. We will have to wait and see what becomes of this building as well. Will it be a new congregation that moves in? Or will the building be converted for some other use?

Here’s a list of other buildings acquired by the land bank if you are interested in purchasing them:

-50 Chambers Street
-59 Chambers Street (La Vida Community Garden)
-29 Lander Street
-42 Lander Street
-45 Lander Street
-130 First Street
-183 First Street
-185 First Street
-187 First Street
-159 Grand Street
-55 Chambers Street

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-Photos via Google

28 Comment

  • The handsome building on Grand was a Christian Science church. The Christian Science Mother Church is a landmark in Boston. They have sold most of their churches around the country and now use their Reading Rooms instead. It was a community with money and all of their structures were very well built as is this church on Grand. It has not been used for years except as a store front kind of operation that did nothing to maintain the building. It is a beautiful building and hopefully will be purchased by someone who appreciates its fine quality and will turn it into a credit for that block on Grand. God knows so many of our blocks are in need of that.

    • Why is the land bank selling buildings before fixing them up..? Is there any guarantee that the building will not just sit there?

      • The Land Bank prioritizes getting property back into productive use whether that is through our own rehabilitation of property or through a sale to a third party. When a property is sold, it returns to the tax roll. It would take the Land Bank several years to gather sufficient resources for a building such as 188 Grand. The Land Bank has a strict disposition policy (available on our website, that evaluates each purchaser carefully. In addition, we have recorded a mortgage for 188 Grand Street. If a Certificate of Occupancy is not obtained in 15 months, we have recourse available to us to ensure that the building is properly renovated and utilized. The Land Bank also required a scope of work to be provided as well as evidence of financing prior to approving the sale. The Land Bank will use these type of tools and others to ensure that buyers do what they say they will. We will not sell a property to someone without the capacity, character or means to effectively return a property to good use in a reasonable amount of time. The mortgage is recorded with the County and is publicly available through the County Clerk if you are interested. And all of our board meetings are public and minutes available on our website. Prospective purchasers are required to make a proposal to our Board, which is then discussed at one of our public meetings.

        • So, Why all of the SECRECY? I think that there are many people who are getting their information regarding real estate in City of Newburgh from Newburgh Restoration because it is the only source of centralized information on the internet for this subject IE available real estate. If you expect to bring in financial resources and more people into City of Newburgh, you must think in terms of public information regarding sales. Enough of the insider stuff! If people who are interested investors and potential residents cannot see what the deals look like, how do they know what they can offer or participate in? Inclusiveness and transparency is MISSING. Don’t send people to five other sources when you have all of the info and you just don’t bother to inform the public in a timely way–not AFTER the deal is done! All current property tax payers in the City of Newburgh need info re THE DEALS being given to new purchasers whether they be low purchase prices or special commercial terms or real estate tax deals (through state programs) because these people are paying for those!Loving and appreciating a building is fine but taxpayers want to see that the highest prices were received and that the purchaser will be paying a fair share of taxes into the pot. And an open process should be recreated online so that ALL can see! Thanks to Newburgh Restoration or even this much would not have been publicized.Sale Price or For Sale Sign not posted on the property! I call that non-transparent!

        • NCLB: I have read through all the information on your website. Again, there is no information on your blog re recent sales–as you stated, below, that there was. More importantly there is no information on your website about the Land Bank properties presently for sale. As a public trust institution, isn’t it your responsibility to dispense that information as widely as possible? As you can see from the comments below, other Newburghers share my concerns about your lack of full disclosure; essentially, you are shutting out the very people who might be interested in buying Land Bank properties. No interested party should have to wend their way through City and County records to find that information when it would be very simple for you, the property holder, to simply list them on your website BEFORE they are sold. Right now, here, at the Newburgh Restoration blog, is your chance to answer fully and precisely. We await your response.

          • I apologize, I thought I had posted about sales, but rather only about acquisition. I will post an update today about the two sales: 188 Grand Street and 197 Lander Street for your convenience. I reiterate that every real estate transaction is public and all the information regarding every transaction is available through the County’s very well maintained online database. It is a simple site to use. Just enter street address at:
            The sites that we have acquired (which can all be acquired by making a feasible proposal to the Land Bank–see our disposition policies on the website are all listed on our website in the Blog section. They are here:

            I am always available to answer questions at We are doing our best to maintain a communicative website and are still working toward the best process. And, as I previously mentioned each and every meeting of the board of directors is a public meeting and we have an active Resident Advisory Committee that we encourage all residents to participate in.

          • I used the link to the County Office and found the transaction amount for transfer from City to Landbank. ($1.00). But nothing is posted on the sale price or buyer of 197 Lander. County could be slow in updating the data?

    • Hi Yaakov: I believe we did find a buyer who will love and appreciate this building. Work to restore the roof and improve the exterior has already begun. Walk by soon!

  • Before it was the site of the Christian Science Church, 188 Grand was the home of Mayor Benjamin B. Odell, father of Governor Benjamin B. Odell, Jr.:

  • Cher, thanks so much for posting this! For those of us with only a vague understanding of what the Land Bank was established to do, it was a great help. However, on the Land Bank website there is no information on the specific properties you mentioned (how to see/contact?) or of the two properties you referred to as having been sold (for how much? To whom? Projected purpose?). Should this information not be public and, if so, how does one find it?

    • Hi Ms. Hamlin:
      All of the sales of the Land Bank are public information. All information is available upon request if you email me at . When a sale is made, I do post it to our blog. Also, all real estate transactions are public information at the orange county parcel data system show the sale information, purchaser, sale prices ,etc. The assessor for the City also has this info. Please be in touch and I will send you any information you are interested in.

      • MFletcher: Thanks very much for your response. I did not, however, find any sales listed on your blog.
        I’ll email you as per your advice to see what the most direct route to public information on properties for sale would be. Or, if you could just post that info here with web adresses/ links, that would be great.

        • See above…thank you for your interest. I am happy to receive feedback as to how we can better improve our presence and access. I am the only person staffing the Land Bank on our shoestring budget, so it is a process.

        • Additionally, in November (target date!) we will be launching a web based map tool that will enable anyone to see detailed information about land bank properties (in addition to city owned vacant property) by clicking on parcels on a google-type map. I think it will be a huge advance in accessing data. It is an entirely new product, so it is something that is under development by some very talented folks. In the meantime, lists on the website are the best option. There will be a kiosk at the Code Department available for public use for anyone without access to their own computer with internet.

          • NCLB: As of this morning, August 16th, there is no more information on your blog than there was previously–i,e, no info on the two sold properties. The only thing listed is, in fact, outdated: that the meeting of August 21 was rescheduled to August 7th.
            Your explanation that you are the only person At Home at the Land Bank explains a lot; it would appear to be quite a job to monitor all these constantly changing properties. Following up on “Runner’s” question, however: who does pay your salary /where does that money come from?
            The proposed property map that you say will be available in November sounds great–and real progress in interacting with the public. In the meantime why don’t you transfer all of your responses to our questions to the NCLB blog? That would seem to be the most efficient way to continue this dialogue.

    • All of the information you allude to is AFTER THE FACT INFORMATION NCLB.

      • This kind of information processing, which blocks subjects’ knowledge and involvement, is a kind of due-process problem. It is a structural problem, involving the way people are treated by government institutions and creating a power imbalance between people and the government. To what extent should government officials have such a significant power over citizens? This issue isn’t about what information people want to hide but about the power and the structure of government.

        • NJP. .with all due respect, neither you nor I are not as qualified as the Land Bank staff are to understand the local real estate market and financing options available to investors in the historical properties. So long as the Land Bank process is competitive and the actions taken are publicly reported after negotiations, the negotiations are none of your business nor mine. Too many Newburgh residents think they are experts…but are not. So long as Sales proceeds from historical buildings are not maintaining nor enriching the salaries of staff, we should be OK with what is happening. Would appreciate confirmation from staff that sale proceeds are not going to support staff salaries in any way but will be used exclusively to upgrade and sell other properties owned by the Land Bank. If proceeds going to support salaries, obvious conflicts of interest could occur in negotiations and offering dates of properties. . Thanks to Newburgh Restoration platform to discuss financials of restoring historic buildings ….this is real estate reality 101.

          • Hi Runner:
            At this time, salaries are not paid by the proceeds of the sales. In the future, this may not be the case. The Land Bank is a state and federally regulated non-profit, so the salaries will never be “commensurate” with sales or anything like that like a real estate broker. It will always be a fixed amount appropriate with the budget of the organization and the scope of work and publicly reported and monitored. It will not be a profit-motivated position. Ever. In general foundation funding is available for start up over a couple of years, but once an organization is operating, it is more typical to fund operations from revenue. It would not, however, be at the cost of the work. Well trained professionals have to coordinate the work of rehabilitating and/or returning properties to productive use. Without that, the work wouldn’t get done. So, in reality, salaries are part of the actual work to the properties. I hope this clarifies our position a little bit.

      • Suzanne:
        It is now posted. Let me know if you have more questions.
        In our first year, my salary has been paid through a mix of grant funds that we have have applied for from public and private foundation sources. In the future, we anticipate salary dollars will come more from the proceeds of actual Land Bank operations by returning property to the tax rolls. Our budget is posted to our website if you are interested. We report our expenditures and income to the state and it is monitored there. We also report to the City of Newburgh in an annual report and periodically, though we are regulated by the State and not the City.

        I will figure out the best way to integrate some of these discussions into the blog–it is worthwhile feedback and information. As I told you, since I am the main person doing everything from the urban planning and legal transactions (I have graduate degrees in both and am a licensed attorney) to the blog and website maintenance, it is an ongoing process and I appreciate the feedback. Please be in touch.

        • Thanks for clarification. My questions / comments are for benefit of all who have interest in the Land Bank’s activities. Good responses and corporate policies. Wish you luck with the buildings.

  • One more comment: 188 Grand Street was sold to a private individual who will be converting the former church to a private residence. 197 Lander will be an apartment building as it always was before abandonment. 6 2- bedrooms and 2 studios. Thanks to everyone for your interest in the Land Bank. Please be in touch or consider participating in our Resident Advisory Committee.

  • Thanks to the Land Bank representative for clarifying the terms of the sale. However the City has sold this property at auction at least twice before at very low cost with DETAILED terms for improving it and obtaining a certificate of occupancy by specific target dates. REMOVING ASBESTOS IS A COSTLY UNDERTAKING. Hopefully you have selected a buyer who will get the work done and return the building to its glory and not be a speculator to sit on the property and challenge attempts (if needed) to return the property to the Land Bank. More transparency in real estate transactions after the negotiation would be useful. GOOD LUCK.

    • My advice to nearby residents is to carefully monitor site. In Warwick Village, we have contractors ripping off asbestos shingles from exteriors without the building inspector complaining. I went down to City Hall to ask…They claim that it is a safe practice. And as for plumbing and heating asbestos, the contractors just rip it out exposing their workers and the public as to bury it is expensive and a forever proposition. So if there is asbestos, the city should carefully monitor for the sake of the surrounding residents. In the UK, all asbestos must be properly removed BEFORE a sale and THAT is a best practice.

  • I drove up Grand Street today and there was a ton of activity going on around the church…people were indeed working on the exterior….hope something positive comes of this sale.

    • Question? Can someone buy one of these Land bank properties and go to a bank for FHA/203K/Conventional Financing for the renovations?

      • Hi Luis:

        The Land Bank will consider any feasible financing mechanism. We have met with mortgage brokers to discuss formalizing a 203k type program. The issue that we have run into is that the appraisal value in Newburgh is not often equal to the cost of rehabilitation for the properties that we own. So, it is difficult for an individual buyer without significant down payment to utilize a program like this at this time.
        What we hope to do over time is be able to raise funds to invest funding toward projects like this (abating lead and asbestos on behalf of the prospective purchaser, for example) to lower the overall cost of rehabilitation for an individual homeowner to make this type of financing more feasible.

        If a buyer were able to put their own financing together, we are happy to entertain all offers that comply with our disposition policies on our website. Before we would make a sale, all of the financing would be in place. This is one way that we make sure that the work will get done in a timely and efficient manner. We also may hold a mortgage on the property to make sure the required milestones are met. Each project is evaluated on a case by case basis.

        Thank you for your interest.