by Larry Austin
The Metz Building on Long Road has been sold, clearing the way for development of what many consider the Island's most notorious eyesore.
Councilman Gary Roesch said at the end of Monday's Grand Island Town Board meeting that owner Jim Metz had sold the building, former home to Dunlop Tire headquarters, to Rudra Management of Cheektowaga, which he called developers of other hotels and motels in the area.
Roesch said he didn't know the sale price but said Metz, probably didn't get "anywhere near what he was asking" for all along in the sale.
Roesch said, "The tentative plan is that they would like to take the top two floors and develop them into a hotel/motel development, and the bottom floor, the first floor, would be for retail and offices."
The deal marks an end to a dormant stage in the building's life marked by vandalism and graffiti to its outside that faces the I-190. Roesch said sale of the building had been in the offing several times before without success.
"Oh, goodness, at least five or six times people have expressed a sincere interest in buying and have gotten all the way to the final sit-down negotiations, and either the owner or the prospective owner could not reach an agreement. This particular individual has been dealing with Jim Metz for six months," Roesch said.
Metz also sold to Rudra Management the vacant building, on the northwest side of Grand Island Boulevard on Long Road opposite Kelly's Country Store. Roesch wouldn't speculate on the use for the building, which was once a gas station and a garden nursery.
State grant money totaling $1 million, from Empire State Development, secured when David Paterson was governor, is on the horizon, Roesch said.
"The issue there is that money is not available until the building is marketable," Roesch said.
Roesch estimated to make the building marketable would take $1.8 million, but that the new owners have "lined up prospective tenants so that they feel comfortable that they can proceed to invest money into it."
In other news from Monday's Town Board meeting:
The board accepted a letter from Kevin Hagen of East River Road, who recommended the Town Board approve planting of an oak tree along with a stone marker in the Town Commons dedicated to the late James Tomkins, father of the current highway superintendent, and "his tireless work for town. An oak tree can live for centuries, and I hope that it would both encourage others to serve and to commemorate his life."
Tomkins, a member of the Conservation Commission for the town, passed away in December. Hagen said he spent many hours with Tomkins planting and watering trees, pulling weeds and other maintenance at beautification events.
As is its custom during the first regular meeting of the new year, the board held its reorganization meeting and made appointments to town positions:
•The board made the law firm of Hodgson Russ, LLP, and Peter C. Godfrey of Grand Island as attorneys for the town.
•Designated the firm of Bonadio Group as audit counselors.
•Mary Cooke was appointed the town's budget officer, as well as police commissioner to the Grand Island Police Department
•Appointed of Mike Ludwig and John Mondoux as dog control officers.
•Reappointed Nicole Gerber deputy emergency services coordinator for a one-year term, expiring Dec. 31, 2014.
As well, the board:
•Set the mileage reimbursement at 56 cents per mile.
•Designated the Island Dispatch as the town's official newspaper.
•Appointed Pam Barton and Godfrey as harassment complaint officers
•Set legal holidays as Monday, Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King Day); Monday, Feb. 17 (Presidents Day); Friday, April 18 (Good Friday, a half day); Monday, May 26 (Memorial Day); Friday, July 4 (Independence Day); Monday, Sept. 1 (Labor Day); Monday, Oct. 13 (Columbus Day); Tuesday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day); Thursday, Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving Day); Friday, Nov. 28 (the day after Thanksgiving); Wednesday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve); Thursday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day); Wednesday, Dec. 31 (New Year's Eve), and Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 (New Year's Day).
•Designated Town Board meetings to be held on the first and third Monday of each month at 8 p.m. A regular meeting that falls on a holiday will be held on Tuesday of that week. Workshop meetings will be held on the first and third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. or Tuesday if the Monday is a holiday.
•Set Town Hall hours for Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with special hours designated by the town clerk.
The board made appointments to town advisory boards, including:
•Richard Szafran to Architectural Review Board for a five-year term expiring Dec. 31, 2018.
•Ethan Huber and Paul Roeder to the Cable & Communications Committee for seven-year terms expiring Dec. 31, 2020, and to table another appointment to the board to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014.
•Alice Gerard to the Conservation Advisory Board for a five-year term, expiring Dec. 31, 2018, and to table the appointment of another for a term expiring Dec. 31, 2017.
•David Mingoia, Thomas Knight, Rob Ratajczak, and Bonnie Sciuk to the Economic Development Advisory Board each for three-year terms expiring Dec. 31, 2016.