It’s been called an eyesore and a danger to the surrounding homes, and now Nassau County has taken a step forward to demolishing the decaying vacant building at 175 Roger Ave. in Inwood.
The building was the former site of Rockaway Metal Products Inc., but has been owned by the county for the last 22 years, since it inherited the property in 1995.
The county announced that it would be accepting bids from general construction companies to demolish what remains of the dilapidated two-story structure. What will go up in its place is still undecided. “We are still reviewing proposals for the purchase and redevelopment of the site,” said Mary Studdert, spokesperson for the Nassau County Department of Public Works.
The site was declared a federal Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site when hazardous materials were found on the premises. Extra precautions will have to be taken to safeguard what is considered a health and public safety concern, Studdert added.
On April 24, the county legislature borrowed $2.1 million to demolish the building. “That sounds like a high figure,” said Carriè Solages (D-Elmont), Inwood’s representative in the legislature shortly after the borrowing was announced. “But I did the due diligence in making sure that it’s done wisely, and apparently there is an environmental issue with toxins.”
Residents were asked what they would like to see replace the building when the loan was announced this past spring. “We are looking for someone who cares and respects the community,” said, longtime Inwood resident Pete Sobol. Patty Vacchio, another longtime resident, added that truck traffic is a problem for them and she is, “in favor of residential housing.”
Like his constituents, Solages is eager for the decaying property to be demolished. “I look forward to this property being redeveloped. Most importantly, I’m looking forward for this to be in the most cost efficient way for Nassau taxpayers,” he said. “This will hopefully lead to the turnaround of certain areas of Inwood, which is the first of our Five Towns.”
The building is 85,000 square feet and is located in a largely industrial area, however, along the south side it borders some homes on Cerro Street. SONY Entertainment Studio, Expeditors International, a global logistics company and a Town of Hempstead recycling facility also surround the lot.
Bids must be sent to office of the Clerk of the Nassau County Legislature, Room 117 of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building at 1550 Franklin Ave. in Mineola, by 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 30.
The county will only accept bids for their list of bidders that have purchased the plans and specifications. A non-refundable $300 fee by check or money order made out to the Nassau County Treasurer is required to obtain the contract documents.
According to Studdert, the department’s hope is to begin demolition in four to five months, depending on how the bidding process proceeds.