BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The City of Binghamton is taking legal action to seize a notorious eyesore on the city’s Northside.
Mayor Jared Kraham announced today an effort to use eminent domain to take ownership of the Binghamton Plaza.
The shopping center is owned by Galesi Realty Corporation of Wayne, New Jersey under the name Binghamton Plaza LLC.
Built in the ’60’s on top of a former city dump, the shopping plaza began to lose tenants in the 1990’s.
When the K-Mart closed in 2016, the plaza was left with very few tenants, most notably the popular New York Pizzeria. The structure and surrounding parking lot have steadily fallen into disrepair.
In June of 2019, Binghamton Plaza LLC filed for bankruptcy owing roughly 400 thousand dollars in property taxes. Bankruptcy proceedings generally shield a company from eminent domain seizure.
So the city with the assistance of law firm Harris Beach filed a motion in federal bankruptcy court seeking permission to take the property.
Kraham says the dilapidated structure, which is crumbling in sections, not only brings down the look of the Northside neighborhood, but also makes a terrible impression on travelers who can see it from Routes 17 and 81 while driving through Binghamton.
He says the multi-acre parcel would be ideal for redevelopment or additional greenspace connecting to the adjacent Cherie Lindsay Park and river walk.
“My message today is clear, enough is enough,” said Kraham. “For decades Binghamton Plaza has continued to deteriorate with no plan and no action from the property owners. It has diminished quality of life for the north side families, and hurt nearby small businesses. Residents deserve better. That’s why I have directed attorneys on behalf of the city to take aggressive action on behalf of the public, starting the process of turning this plaza over to the city of Binghamton.”
Kraham says he has no specific plans for the property once the existing plaza is demolished. He also cautions residents that the legal action could take many months of years to resolve.
The Mayor says any environmental remediation of the site to prepare for redevelopment would likely be the city’s responsibility either way as it used to serve as a city-owned dump.
Asset Manager Mike Tomasulo of Galesi Realty Corporation tells NewsChannel 34 that he is not familiar with the details of the lawsuit and referred the media to the company’s legal counsel for comment.