Niskayuna ‘zombie’ property set for renovation

The house at 2 Cornelius Ave. in Niskayuna is shown in February.
The house at 2 Cornelius Ave. in Niskayuna is shown in February.

NISKAYUNA — The vacant “zombie” home at 2 Cornelius Ave. in Niskayuna will be renovated, officials said Friday.

“We are moving forward with renovations to one of the worst zombie properties in Schenectady County,” Richard Ruzzo, chairman of the Capital Region Land Bank and a member of the Schenectady County Legislature, said in a press release.

The Land Bank took title to the property, last assessed by the town at $135,000, in May. A request for qualifications was issued and three responses were received. The Land Bank Executive Committee voted this week to proceed with a sale of the property for $5,000 to Lunde & Co LLC. 

The developer plans to invest more than $100,000 to renovate the property and then sell it to an owner-occupant.  

The Dutch Colonial-style home, which stands next to the parking lot owned by American Legion Post 1092, is a wreck.

In February, an in-person inspection revealed damaged wood on both sides of the house. White paint was peeling all over the exterior and a front window was partially open.

Boards covered what might have once been a rear window, and a rear door was blocked by a 2-by-4 board.

Neighbors said the house had been vacant for at least eight years.

Land Bank officials said the four-bedroom home also needs foundation repairs, a new roof, new windows, a new heating system, a new chimney and a new front porch.

Officials said renovations will start immediately. The property is located close to Hillside Elementary School and the Upper Union Street Business District. 

Sara Mae Pratt, a member of the Schenectady County Legislature who represents Niskayuna and Glenville said, “Protecting our neighborhoods is one of the reasons I wanted to get involved in local government. My thanks to the Land Bank for dealing with properties that negatively impact property values and the quality of life for our families.”

“Niskayuna has great neighborhoods,” said Denise Murphy McGraw, a Niskayuna Town Board member, “but we also have a few zombie properties that need fixing and I’ve been dedicated to make that happen.”

The Land Bank is focusing on its next project in Niskayuna — the owner of 1125 Mohawk Road has obtained a demolition permit from the town for the property.

The Land Bank also is working with town officials to address a property at 1019 Van Antwerp Road. The owner of that house passed away, officials said, and there are no immediate heirs to take control of the property. The home has been vacant since 2017.

Categories: News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

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