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Duleep: Work being done inside burned-out Wall Street eyesore

NORWALK, Conn. – Appearances are deceiving in the case of a haunted house-like Wall Street building, according to its owner.

Ganga Duleep, owner of 45 Wall St. under the entity Wall Street Associates LLC, said work is going on inside the burned-out hulk, even if it looks from the outside that nothing is being done.  

“Work is going on inside, remediation work is going on. We have all the permits that we need from the state, from the city, from Metro-North, from anybody who there needs to be permits from. It’s set, and work is ongoing,” Duleep said.

The building has sat vacant and dilapidated since August 2010 when it was consumed in flames. TD Bank received $689,262 insurance money to begin work on the building more than a year ago, after Duleep won a lawsuit against the financial institution. In May, Duleep said abatement work was ongoing, that she was trying to get a low-interest loan for solar panels through the state’s Commercial & Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program and was involved in a laborious and slow process to get tax credits through the United States Department of the Interior and the State Historic Preservation Office.

The apparent lack of progress has been noted in recent complaints.

Michael McGuire, in speaking to the Planning Committee earlier this month, complained about the “lack of a blight ordinance in the urban core.”

“This oversight allows one or two property owners to effectively set the standard for an entire district. Ganga Duleep’s Wall Street property is a classic example,” McGuire said. “It’s extremely hard to overcome the optics here. The result: building owners achieving lower rental rates and we have higher vacancies, Norwalk loses tax revenue from fewer jobs and lower property values.  It’s a vicious cycle that is there but it is hard to break if there is the political will to do so.”

“It’s a building that I think is about 150 years old.   Although I was not required to do this, I did have it tested for everything under the sun, which would be asbestos, lead, anything,” Duleep said. “Basically, what we are doing, we are replacing everything, the windows, the walls, the doors, the electrical work, the plumbing, everything. It will be basically a new building inside. We are also replacing the roof because I think 100 years ago the flashing they used then was, again, asbestos. So because of that I will be replacing the entire roof.”

Asked about the open windows, she said the plywood had probably been taken down by the remediation company when they put plastic sheeting up. She said new, historically accurate, windows have been ordered.

“They should be arriving within the next three or four weeks, I would think. Once they get here they will be installed,” Duleep said.

She said the headline on a previous story here, “Burnt Wall Street eyesore not likely to improve anytime soon,” was inaccurate.

“You cannot see what is being done because it is being done inside. I said, ‘We will not be doing the façade until the very end,’” Duleep said. “Your headline said we will not be seeing anything done at that building for a long, long time. That’s not what I meant.

“Usually the façade is, as I said before, the last thing that gets done,” Duleep said Tuesday. “But the commission up at the department in Hartford that was in charge of the historical credits and all of that, they are overseeing the entire project and … The work that gets done is being done with their approval.”

When will it be done?

“It’s up to the people doing the job,” Duleep said. “Things are moving along and hopefully everybody will be happy down the road.”

On Tuesday, the Common Council took action on a lawsuit related to the fire that consumed Duleep’s building.

Two tenants jumped from the windows and were severely injured, according to published reports. Both Patricia Taher and Randy Keen have sued the city, the Norwalk Fire Department and Duleep.

The council discussed a proposed settlement during an executive session that began just before midnight.

“I cannot comment regarding this pending litigation,” Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola said in an email.

Jury selection for a trial is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the state’s judicial website.

Comments

15 responses to “Duleep: Work being done inside burned-out Wall Street eyesore”

  1. Michael McGuire

    Ms. Duleep is being misleading.

    Every business day, and some weekends as well, I’m in my office. Sitting at my desk I have a direct view of this eyesore of a building. Other than some remediation work in late spring, which I think was just testing, there has been no physical activity at this building what so ever. There were people there regarding the law suite. I know this because when people show up at the building I walk over and ask what’s going on. Since the only access is in the front I’ve pretty much watched the inaction for 4 years.

    I’ve heard there are plans in place but that does not mean the owner will do anything, can financially afford to do something, or have the wherewithal to understand what to do.

    To that end I know Ms. Duleep does not have the wherewithal, I cannot comment on the desire or financial ability but one is enough. Since the fire 4 years ago this building has not been correctly mothballed to protect it from the elements. I Watched a cheap blue tarp that covered the gapping hole in the back of the building, installed shortly after the fire, was blown to smithereens over the course of one month with no replacement.

    If Ms. Duleep where serious about fixing up this building she would have had it correctly mothballed to protect the building. Water is the most damaging to a building but water continues to pour in the back of the building and the open front windows in any rain storm.

    To the CC – we need a blight ordinance to protect the surrounding property owners. How can we revitalize Wall Street with this festering eyesore dragging down the value of every property within eyesight? Why would businesses invest here with this going on? Letting this linger risks having this building collapsing in the Street.

    Nancy – the quote you took from my notes should say that getting a blight ordinance should not be hard if there was the political will.

    I would encourage all Norwalk citizens tired of watching our downtown flounder to let your district councilmen know that on this blog. Given them the political will.

  2. srb1228

    agree wholeheartedly w/Mr. Mcguire.

  3. RU4REEL

    The 95/7 hole in the ground has been there longer, lets get after them like everyone is getting after Ms. Duleep please.

  4. Anonymous

    @4REEL: Don’t change the subject. The article’s about Wall St.

  5. Suzanne

    I feel like the Duleeps’ only interest is one of deceit or….? Mr. McGuire is right and has the observations to prove it. Why is Norwalk left wagging the dog? Ms. Duleep repeated exactly the same remediation the last time she was consulted about this building. If she has done nothing so far, what is the advantage to her? Is she getting a tax break for leaving this building to ruin? How can the Sheriff, in good conscience, keep forgiving her mother’s inaction while subjugating the rest of Norwalk to this building which looks like it belongs in a slum? They can keep defending their inaction but I am guessing very few believe them – their neglect is hurting Norwalk. A blight ordinance is needed starting with this building.

  6. Local businessman

    The only person who has worked on this building in the last eighteen months is the graffiti artist who left his masterpiece for all to admire. I thought we had an ordinance dealing with blight in residential buildings. This is an apartment building right?

  7. There’s a new……

    Hey, the rats need a place to live too. Don’t get the ASPCA pissed off at us.

  8. Ms Ruby McPherson

    You guys are sick, there is so much more uptown that can be done, with all the red tape and others, Once the monies are release I am sure Duplee will do the right thing. Or is it you want to shut her down all together and get the building.

  9. Rusty Guardrail

    No work is being done there. It should be ripped down. How many more years will this go on? I read that the same family owns the equally hideous building at the corner of Wall & Commerce, where there’s garbage on the sidewalk every day. Rip that one down too. A big pile of rubble next to a hole in the ground would probably look better.

  10. RU4REEL

    Not changing the subject ace, just pointing out that we all should be complaining about blight EVERYWHERE not just Wall Street.

  11. John Hamlin

    Our dysfunctional and ineffective Common Council enacted a so-called blight ordinance, but the problem with it: it does not address blight. We still need an effective blight ordinance, like the many other towns and cities in the state that have had such a blight ordinance for years. But how can you have a real blight ordinance and still protect a slumlord or any property owner’s right to do whatever they want with their property regardless of the consequences? And that’s the cornerstone of Norwalk planning and zoning. A blight ordinance, like FAR and other basic planning and zoning mechanisms, would require a change in approach by the city and it’s planning and zoning function. And there is still no political will in Norwalk to get that done. So this Wall Street eyesore will be there for years with no consequences for the owner. And there will be new mosque controversies. And we have our Common Council to thank for it.

  12. Dawn

    On A,ore positive note. I was in the Wal street area last night for dinner.
    The best meal out i have had in a very long time.
    Pontos.
    The best Greek food i have had . EVER. Great atmosphere, great service. and reasonable price.
    Support a small local business and go out to dinner.

  13. Tim D

    Good work including the photo. It really drives the point home, the place is disgusting.

  14. Eld d

    this is a historic building and should not come down. It was built in 1854…i hope Mrs. Duleep does something soon…but please dont ask the city to tear the building down.

  15. Eld d

    one more thing. i cannot believe that some of the additions or renovation to this building were approved by the city…they are an abomination and dont’t even look safe to be in.

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