Bedell House for Sale By Owner

From the Staten Island Advance

Controversial Bedell House up for sale; Asking price is $1.1M
by Staten Island Advance
Sunday September 23, 2007, 10:08 PM

A Tottenville house that was nearly destroyed by its angry owner before being resuscitated through city landmarking is up for sale for $1.1 million.

The landmark Bedell House on Amboy Road was spray-painted with graffiti and partially dismantled by the homeowner in 2005.

Now it is facing more uncertainty as it goes on the market during one of the worst housing slumps in recent years. “I never have a concern about that. There is a buyer for everything but you’ve got to find them,” said Realtor Mel Kling.

The beleaguered owner of the home, John Grossi, was referred to Kling Real Estate. Kling said the house is for sale subject to pending city approvals Grossi still needs to secure to develop the rear of the property with four new homes. In exchange, any new owner of the battered landmark house must restore it.

Everyone agrees that restoring the historic house is the best way to fix the problem.
Getting there has been the difficult part.

Grossi, a developer, bought the house early in 2005 for $675,000 and began preparing it for demolition to make way for townhouses.

When the Landmarks Preservation Commission put a hold on his demolition permit a short time later, he learned the city was interested in protecting the house. He reacted by painting the building with neon colors and nasty messages directed at his neighbors.

The city decided to preserve the house by landmarking the structure — which in a few short months went from one of Amboy Road’s finer homes to a near falling-down wreck.

Kling, a former Community Board 3 member who lives one town away, in Richmond Valley, said if Landmarks had designated the building before the builder bought it, the current situation could have been avoided.

“[Grossi] did some irrational things with the building but he’s been through a tremendous amount of distress and pressure with this whole situation,” said Kling. “We are looking to solve a problem and we want to solve it in a way that’s best for the community. That’s very, very important.”

Kling said the right new buyer might provide a fresh start in a community where everyone feels hurt by the graffiti incident. If a buyer can’t be found, he said Grossi will develop the site and restore the house himself.

Last year, Landmarks approved Grossi’s plan to build four historic homes behind the house on condition he restore the landmark, but City Planning is still reviewing his development proposal. Grossi needs a special permit requiring a public review and votes by the City Planning Commission and City Council.

A City Planning spokeswoman said that planners are “guiding [Grossi] through the approval process,” but that he had not yet provided a complete application.

Grossi said that’s not true and his application is in technical review.

“Everything is finished. The ball has not been in my court for a while,” he said. “The city is the slowest animal in the world. This house would have been renovated and restored a year ago if the city didn’t want to make such a big deal out of every little thing.”

Some Tottenville residents have complained in the past about Grossi’s behavior, saying he was showing up at their homes unannounced, seeking help with the house and acting agitated or threatening. Grossi has denied those allegations.

Last week, he said he just wants to sell and break even.

“I’m just sick and tired of it at this point,” he said.

Linda Hauck, a member of the Tottenville Historical Society who lives down the block and has waited several years for the house to be restored, is also tired.

“It’s just another chapter in the saga,” she said of the planned sale of the house. “I wish I could be so overly optimistic but I just can’t.”

— Contributed by Karen O’Shea

Posted Under: Lingering Pain, Staten Island, Tottenville

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