Sites con­tain haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als

The Buffalo News - - BUSINESS -

at $2.09 mil­lion, in­cludes the 162,000-square-foot for­mer Nabisco ware­house. The prop­er­ties are con­nected.

Mil­stein, who owns Ni­a­gara Falls Re­de­vel­op­ment, ac­quired the prop­er­ties in 2003, but did not start his case un­til 2011. Through Wein­mann and ap­praiser An­thony A. Gi­ra­sole, he ar­gued that the prop­er­ties were “shut­tered” man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties that can no longer be used that way be­cause the zon­ing was changed in July 2009 to al­low only com­mer­cial or res­i­den­tial use.

The fa­cil­i­ties are in “poor condition” and have been va­cant for 18 years, ex­cept for some stor­age use for the ware­house from 2015 to 2018, the judge noted. And Mil­stein’s team pre­sented “un­con­tro­verted ev­i­dence” that the sites con­tain sig­nif­i­cant haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­tam­i­na­tion that must be re­me­di­ated be­fore they can be reused, the judge added.

Gi­ra­sole and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tant Raj Cho­pra of CEM tes­ti­fied that the Rainbow site contained as­bestos, lead, mold, in­dus­trial waste and two 25,000-gal­lon diesel fuel tanks, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

“It’s a big eye­sore to any­one who en­ters the city of Ni­a­gara Falls,” Wein­mann said.

The site is east of down­town Ni­a­gara Falls. The sur­round­ing area was tra­di­tion­ally heavy in­dus­try, with fac­to­ries for Oc­ci­den­tal Chem­i­cal and pre­de­ces­sor Hooker Chem­i­cal, as well as Moore Busi­ness Forms, E.I. DuPont, Olin Corp. and Washington Mills.

The judge noted that Cho­pra pro­jected cleanup costs for Rainbow at $1.31 mil­lion, while Ontario Spe­cialty Con­tract­ing es­ti­mated de­mo­li­tion and re­moval costs of $5.54 mil­lion, in­clud­ing as­bestos abate­ment. That brought the value of that prop­erty down to zero, Gi­ra­sole ar­gued.

The Memo­rial Park­way prop­erty, on the other hand, is func­tion­ally ob­so­lete and can’t be used for what it was originally in­tended, but should still be val­ued for as­sess­ment at $975,000, Gi­ra­sole said.

GAR’s Allen as­serted that the Nabisco ware­house was in “fair condition,” cit­ing short­term im­prove­ments to al­low its use for rental stor­age. Com­bin­ing the prop­er­ties into one, he claimed that the as­sess­ment was $3.89 mil­lion as of July 2010 and had in­creased to $4.43 mil­lion by July 2016. But the judge found those val­ues to be ex­ces­sive and un­jus­ti­fied.

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