LOCKPORT – A city effort to obtain sealed bids for four lots on Park Lane Circle fell flat last week.
R. Charles Bell, planning and development director, said the only response the city received to a request for proposals was a letter from an Amherst company that didn’t mention an amount it would pay for the site.
The city foreclosed on the four lots in 2010 and 2011, but the city’s Property Management Committee decided to seek written offers rather than simply putting the properties into the annual city tax foreclosure auction.
Now, city officials don’t agree yet on what to do next.
“We’ll probably just have an auction,” Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said.
“I would be very much opposed to that,” Bell said. “I want to see a quality development there, and you run the risk of not getting that with an auction.”
The letter from Casilio Cos., of Amherst, expressed interest without making an offer, Bell said. He said he thinks the city should make another effort at sealed bids.
The lots at 501, 503, 505 and 507 Park Lane Circle were supposed to be the site of a condominium complex called Victorian Village, which was approved by the city Planning Board in 2005, when it was projected to include 88 units.
Only one of the planned buildings, containing four units, was erected before the project collapsed in financial difficulties and acrimony between the developer and the city.
In 2009, Lockport Condominium Associates sued the city for $5 million over alleged obstructionism by the Building Inspection Department. On Sept. 27, the city won the case, with no damages paid.
The request for proposals says the four-unit structure “is uninhabitable due to the presence of water in the basement and mold through the unit. The termination of electric service may have resulted in the failure of the sump pump, which may have caused the present accumulation of water and mold.”
Mayor Michael W. Tucker said he didn’t think that scared off bidders. “It’s not the first house we’ve sold that had mold in it,” he said.
The four lots total 7.37 acres and are zoned for multiple dwellings. The city wrote off $84,562 in delinquent taxes when it foreclosed. The lion’s share of that – $80,240.67 – was for the building.