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Ogdensburg Growth Fund pushes forward with plan to buy, fix and sell city home

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OGDENSBURG — The Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corp. is entering into discussions with the city of Ogdensburg about buying 611 Rensselaer Ave., a run-down home taken over by the city in 2012 in a tax sale.

The growth fund wants to rehabilitate the property and sell it, putting it back on the city’s tax roll.

Growth Fund Administrative Director Andrea L. Smith said the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is structurally sound, though the interior will need substantial renovations to bring it up to code.

The plan would be to reconfigure the home’s bathrooms, install new sheetrock walls in places, and put in some new flooring and a new kitchen.

“Electrical and plumbing is in good shape,” she said. “The basement is in very good condition. That was all very reassuring.”

Ms. Smith previously said that the city would likely be forced to demolish the home – for up to $40,000 – unless they can find a buyer.

In March Brian K. Tulip, project engineer with the Development Authority of the North Country, estimated that the Growth Fund could rehabilitate the home for less than $60,000.

Ms. Smith said the project, which is part of a fledgling effort by the Growth Fund to help expand the city’s tax base, won’t generate substantial income, and its feasibility hinges on how much City Council ends up selling the property for.

“We feel like it’s going to be very tight. It’s not a get-rich-quick kind of a scheme,” she said. “But we feel that the ends justify the means.”

The vote at Wednesday’s meeting in favor of entering into conversations with the city was unanimous, except for Growth Fund Chairman and Mayor William D. Nelson, who recused himself from the discussion and the vote. Mr. Nelson as mayor represents the city in property transactions.

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