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Ireland: Work stalled on Wall Street hulk

NORWALK, Conn. – No, there is nothing going on inside Ganga Duleep’s burned out Wall Street building, widely considered to be a blight upon its Norwalk neighborhood.

That’s according to Norwalk Chief Building Official Bill Ireland, who also said work began and then stopped. It’s his understanding that this is due to a legal problem, he said.

The three-story structure at 45 Wall St. was heavily damaged in an August 2010 inferno. Two tenants were injured when they jumped from the upper floor to escape the flames and subsequently sued Duleep’s Wall Street Associates and the city. The lawsuit was recently withdrawn, although Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffry Spahr has not released the terms of the settlement.

Duleep filed a lawsuit against TD Bank to recover insurance money, according to published reports. In May 2013, she said the money had been released and work would begin. Workers were seen going in and out of the building in September 2013. In May 2014 Duleep, told NancyOnNorwalk that she had qualified for funding through the state’s Commercial & Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program but TD Bank would not sign off. She was also eligible for tax credits through the United States Department of the Interior and the State Historic Preservation Office but the process was laborious and slow, she said.

Duleep said last month that work is ongoing. Historically accurate windows have been ordered, she said; the building would be rebuilt from the inside out.

But Wall Street neighbors left comments on this site indicating that no one was going in and out.

Ireland agreed. “Obviously nothing is going on,” he said.

“They did the abatement work and they did some shoring inside so people could work in there. Now, it’s stopped,” Ireland said.

He said he had gotten letters in May or June indicating that the abatement and shoring had been done.

“This is what I am told, I don’t know if it’s true – (the bank is) holding the funds and I think there’s a court involved,” Ireland said. “… She said the bank is not releasing the money, for what reason I have no idea. I mean, I don’t know how they work. Supposedly the insurance gave the bank the money and the insurance should have given her the money, but again, there is a legal beagle thing there between, because of the size of the mortgage, make sure it gets repaired probably back to what the note is worth, if you know what I mean – I would assume, but that’s an assumption.”

Duleep did not return a phone call. Neither did the lawyers listed on the federal courts website as representing her in the case with TD Bank. That case was dismissed in September 2013, the website states.

Comments

10 responses to “Ireland: Work stalled on Wall Street hulk”

  1. John Hamlin

    And the city is powerless to do anything. Another example of great land use regulation.

  2. Non Partisan Voter

    The City needs to enact a blight ordinance covering commercial properties. If the City put a lien on the property and started levying $100 per day fines, both the owner of the building and TDBank would have an incentive to move on and fix the building.

  3. Businessman

    This is a travesty for Norwalk in general and especially for its historic Downtown. Time for a blight ordinance. The building should be taken over by the city the eminent domain and the land used for a metro north station in Downtown. That would help to bring new businesses and tax revenues to the city.

  4. Suzanne

    How many times do we need to see this news and see the comments before someone in Norwalk’s government DOES something about this? Can’t the attorney exercise eminent domain as suggested? Can’t the Council get their collective brains together to create an ordinance that has some effect? Can’t Planning and Zoning have the chops to say this building does not meet code? In this edition of NON, there is an article about the incursion of people building, in this case gigantic docks, without the consideration toward their neighbors or the environment. It is unacceptable to many. How many business owners in this area have to suffer for this tenement? And why doesn’t someone who can, anyone, take the risk and condemn this building? (Then either have a timeline for someone else to renovate it or tear it down. But, don’t, under any circumstances trust the Duleeps to do the right thing. They are selfish.)

  5. Slum Lord by any other name

    The only reason the bank would withhold insurance payments is if there is a past concern / question about fraudulent use of the proceeds. Whatever the case here, it’s time for a wrecking ball.

  6. Guardrail

    Our governing bodies have big important meetings, generating endless miles of useless dialogue, and accomplishing: zero.

    They can’t even deal with this burnt-out deathrap sitting smack in the middle of town.

  7. iain

    the bank has an ownership interest in the building. any insurance proceeds, by law, will go the the bank and be disbursed to the ‘owner’ to make repairs. this process is generally pretty well organized by a banks ‘loss draft department’. i say organized, but what i really mean is there is a system most/all banks use that makes it pretty hard to get payments in a timely manner. if the ‘owner’ needs to depend on these funds for timely payment of vendors, good luck. if the mortgage on the property is in arrears the bank can and will take some/all of the insurance proceeds to make the loan current. then the ‘owner’ would have to make up that shortfall to complete the repairs. banks generally are pretty heartless about all this and require all sorts of documentation and inspections etc. IF the property is financed for more than its worth, the bank may just keep the insurance proceeds to cut their losses. that would probably depend on whether or not the loan is current and who knows what else. i’m not a lawyer, but i’ve seen banks do all sorts of things that would SEEM pretty unethical after a major loss.

  8. Kevin Di Mauro

    This is good reading material, and it reminds me of a situation with the dilapidated eyesore on East Ave. owned by the Norwalk Motor Inn family. It existed in a terrible state of decay for many years.

    The family owners wanted to demolish the building to expand their existing business, BUT Todd Bryant a member of the Wall Street task farce intervened, because it was located in a historic DISTRICT.

    Todd is also a member of the Norwalk Preservation Trust and recently had a large part of the Wall St area wherein the Duleep building is located registered with the State of Ct as a HISTORIC DISTRICT. Sound familiar?

    Good luck Ganga. I’ll be looking forward to updates on this.

  9. John Hamlin

    And the St John Grumman House at 93 East Avenue is a jewel — wonderful preservation effort — worth the fight. The city and posterity the big winners. But of course the rights of the individual property owner had to take a back seat to the interests of the community at large and the greater good. Novel concept!!

  10. Kevin Di Mauro

    It seems the reading material has begun.

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