Monday, September 26, 2016

M. Schames & Son

M. Schames & Son was Mendel Schames and his son, Leo. They immigrated to the U.S. from Russia in 1914, and purchased this building in 1927. The builidng itself, located at 3 Essex Street, dates back to 1909 according to official NYC records, but materials and construction techniques uncovered suggest that it is much older, possibly dating back to the early 1800s.

In 2010, the DOB declared the adjacent building unfit for habitation and it was demolished, which subsequently rendered Number 3 unstable. The paint and hardware store, still family-owned by the fourth generation of Schameses, relocated to Delancey St., where they are still in business. A developer now owns both lots, having purchased them for a total of $6 million, but nothing has been done with the properties in these six years.

I don't know much about how the real estate business works, but I can never figure out how developers are able to maintain these vacant buildings and lots for years on end. They aren't receiving any revenue stream from them, and aren't they still paying property tax on them? Is the eventual, inevitable condo with high-priced retail on the ground floor so lucrative that they can absorb the cost of years of inactivity?


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