The three-story building at 203 Main Street in Tottenville, is an eyesore, Councilman Joe Borelli argues, and should be demolished. (Staten Island Advance/Rachel Shapiro)
Councilman Borelli tours abandoned building Councilman Joe Borelli is calling on city agencies to demolish the vacant, dilapidated Tottenville apartment building and on Thursday morning, took a look at the abandoned property. Video by Rachel Shapiro
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Councilman Joe Borelli is making a lot of noise about an abandoned, dilapidated building in Tottenville that attracts all sorts of unpleasant activity.
Borelli (R-South Shore) has called on the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, as well as the Buildings Department, to condemn and demolish the three-story building at 203 Main St.
The building was constructed in 2006, violating zoning laws, incurring fines and violations as it was being constructed and after it was completed. It has never been occupied and sits vacant as the bank that holds the mortgage, Suffolk County National Bank, begins foreclosure proceedings.
The builder ignored a stop-work order when it was being constructed, continuing to build in violation of city code.
Most of the windows have been broken and pieces of shattered glass line the floors inside the dilapidated structure, as teens and homeless people are know to frequent it.
Empty beer bottles litter the floor and graffiti covers the walls in the building that holds about a dozen units.
Standing inside one of the units, Borelli explained Thursday that he has been working with community leaders to get the city to hold the owner’s feet to the fire.
The residential zoning for the parcel only allows two stories, but the three-story structure looms over the houses it backs up to.
According to a city listing of permits, the owner is Irwin Sindeband, who is based in Lindenhurst on Long Island. He did not return a call for comment.
Borelli would like to see a senior living facility, or group home for developmentally disabled kids or adults, or even commercial development.
He’s hoping the bank can gain the title to the property and sell it to a responsible buyer, who will develop it correctly.
“Nothing can happen here until it’s either demolished or sold,” he said. “This is fundamentally a blight to the neighborhood and something needs to happen to correct it.”
Standing with Borelli were Tottenville Civic President Jim Pistilli, Community Board 3 President Frank Morano, Charlene Wagner, district manager of Community Board 3 and Ron Castorina Jr., who is running unopposed for Borelli’s former Assembly seat.
Pistilli said police from the 123rd Precinct right down the street are called to the building often and there have been a few small fires there.
“This place is a magnet for trouble,” Morano said.
Wagner said they have “gotten numerous complaints since it was built.”
A fence was on the property for a short while, Pistilli said, but that was removed, and the boarded-up door has since been pried open, allowing anyone to walk right in, as Borelli did to see the damage.
Borelli said the Department of Housing Preservation informed him it is giving the owner and bank until April 11 to address some of the violations or the department will start sealing up the property.
“Best-case scenario: this building gets demolished totally and some new person can come in and do … what they want applicable to the zoning law,” Borelli said.