Private Property Purchase for over 2x Value?

The City of Batavia seems determined to put a massive development on the corner of Wilson and Washington. The first step is to buy the remaining 2 private properties in their target area. Tuesday, August 9, the City Council COW voted 9-3 to send the purchase agreement for 121 E. Wilson to full Council for vote Monday night, August 15. [Update: the vote has been postponed, ostensibly till Frydendall will be in town for the closing.] They need 10 votes to finalize the sale agreement. 2 aldermen were missing, but are expected to approve it. (Aldermen Botterman, Callahan, and Hohmann were the NO votes.)

The property at 121 E. Wilson is owned by former alderman Eldon Frydendall, with a current assessed value of $ 28,468. Assessed value is approximately 1/3 the estimated market value, meaning if it were to be sold on the open market, the owner can expect to receive around $85,400 for it. The amount negotiated for sale to the City of Batavia is $195,000, plus and additional $13,100 in closing costs, attorneys fees, and moving expenses, for a grand total of $208,100. That’s for a property the City will demolish — also with taxpayer money — and sell to the developer, along with the other properties, for $10.

If you do not agree with this purchase, especially if you live in Wards 4 or 6, please contact your aldermen. (Click the button at right to contact your aldermen via email, or better yet, attend the Council meeting Monday night.) Paula Mueller, Ward 4, and Mike Russotto, Ward 6, are thought to be the most likely to be persuaded to change their votes to NO (there was hesitancy in their votes and they’ve shown good judgement before). But they need to hear from their constituents.

One of the biggest arguments against this purchase at this time is that there is no Redevelopment Agreement in place. There will have to be a Request for Proposal sent out to see if other developers are interested, a parking study needs to be done, the other property they want to purchase needs to reach Council, etc.  If this purchase goes through and the parking study comes back they need much more parking and Shodeen walks away, the City will own an overpriced property that, as if the waste of taxpayer $ is not enough, has been taken off the tax rolls.  There is no reason this must be done NOW!

One argument Council members are using is that they want to control that property.  The question to ask is, “Why?”  Why do they want to control what is now private property? There are, after all, many mechanisms already in place where the City directs in some way what gets built. Purchasing private property to get control of the town is a dangerous precedent to set.

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