MA. Developer Withdraws $4.51M Offer To Buy Vacant Sain Building in New City

John Jordan | October 2018

Rockland County Executive Ed Day

NEW CITY—A noticeably agitated Rockland County Executive Ed Day stood in front of the vacant Sain Building here on Oct. 9 and announced that National Development, the developer who had offered to pay $4.51 million to acquire the property and convert it into a senior residence, had withdrawn its purchase offer.

National Development, a real estate development firm based in Newtown Lower Falls, MA, cited delays by county government as the chief cause for its withdrawal of the purchase offer for the six-story now vacant office building on New Hempstead Road across the street from the County Office Building.

County Executive Day said “The inaction and outright obstruction of some in the Rockland County Legislature have killed this deal. The developer has made it extremely clear in his letter to myself and the County Legislature. The only way to make a revised proposal work now is for the legislature to finally act in good faith. Declare the property surplus immediately.”

In its letter dated Oct. 9, National Development vice president Michael Glynn left the door open somewhat that a deal could be done on the Sain property.

The Sain Building, New City

“If there is still interest in working together to literally and figuratively put seniors at the center of Rockland County, I would be open to a discussion,” Glynn stated. “But in fairness to my team and the many Democrat and Republican legislators who have put so much energy, resources and goodwill into this over the last three years, I ask the legislature to restart the process by declaring the Sain property as surplus. Absent this motion, I see no way for discussions to advance.”

He added, “When the legislature makes this motion, I believe all the stakeholders will be re-energized to work in good faith and collaborate on a great project.:”

Democratic Legislator Alden H. Wolfe released a statement in response to the County Executive’s criticism and the developer’s purchase offer withdrawal.

“It’s strange that it took until now for Ed Day to realize that the sale of the Sain property to National Development was a dead deal. The rest of us knew it months ago after the Legislature formally declined to support it,” Wolfe said,

He charged that he and many of his colleagues had serious concerns about the deal since it was first proposed, noting that the developer is represented by a broker named Scott Milich, who has been a campaign contributor to Ed Day and others and also served in a high-ranking position in Day’s campaign.

“I also strongly oppose the use of ‘one shot’ revenue items to pay for operating expenses. We’ve been warned time and time again by the New York State Comptroller and our independent auditors that this practice is frowned upon. Just last year, Moody’s downgraded Westchester County for their reliance on one shot revenue items. After all of our hard work restoring Rockland’s financial stability, I don’t want to do anything that would undermine our efforts,” Wolfe said.

He also criticized the county executive’s plans to renovate and relocate operations at its Pomona complex, noting the costs could approach $100 million.

“The potential net proceeds from the sale of the Sain property have already been spent and would be spit in the ocean in the context of this massive project, he added. While he agrees the Sain Building should be torn down, he noted, “I’m not yet prepared to sell taxpayer-owned real estate without a well thought out plan that meets the current and future needs of Rockland’s residents.”

Other county legislators offered support for the Sain Building sale and were critical of their fellow legislators who did not support the proposal.

Legislator Lon Hofstein, whose district contains the Sain Building said, “My constituents continuously say to me, the young people looking to purchase a home can afford to pay for the house, but it is the school and property taxes that are prohibitive. Those who presently reside in Rockland say to me; I don’t want to leave, but the taxes we pay are making it difficult to stay. The proposed sale of the Sain Building for a price in excess of $4.5 million, along with $500,000 in annual tax revenues was voted down.”

Legislator Patrick Moroney said, “It is a total disgrace. The county is losing $4.5 million in the sale and the county, town and school district are losing close to half a million dollars a year in real property taxes.”

“The Democratic majority in the legislature continues their path of showing complete contempt and disdain for the public,” Legislator Charles Falciglia said. “They’re more interested in pursuing a paid leave of absence for someone than even proposing an alternative, notwithstanding that this is a very good all-around deal.”

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth