Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - 5:19:53 PM

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Is Vacant Former EJ Building in West Endicott Legally Unsafe?

It looks like National Pipe and Plastics might be setting up shop in the old Endicott-Johnson Shoe Factory in Endicott's Westside.

According to Joe Campolo, attorney for the building's owners, as of Wednesday the owners have entered into a contract with the intent to sell the vacant building to National Pipes and Plastic.

That announcement came Wednesday night during a Town of Union public hearing on what should be done with the idle and decaying industrial building at 1 North Page Avenue.

Officials have been trying to decide whether the structure should be declared unsafe and dangerous.

An engineer hired by the Town, Edwin Gent, said the building can be save with enough money, but he found serious leaky roofs, broken windows, and unsafe floors spongy to the touch when he toured the facility in November of 2012.  "There were areas where we were afraid to walk on," said Gent.  "Open floor areas needed to be securely blocked off in case homeless people or kids or fire fighters were to go in," Gent told town council.

But, Mike Nicholson, an engineer hired by the owners of the building said he feels the steels structure is basically sound.  "It is salvageable, but you need the money to do it," Nicholson told council. 

"Our position is not that the building doesn't need repairs, anyone looking at it knows that the building needs repairs.  Our position is that under the code and under the legal definition of unsafe, the building is not legally unsafe," said  Campolo.

"The structure of the steel and the floors will continue to  deteriorate because they will  continue to get wet from moisture year round.  And until they get that sealed up, then we have a starting point to what to do to remediate it and fix it," said New York State licensed engineer hired by the Town of Union Edwin Gent.

Earlier this year, all parties came together to decided and agree what needed to be done about the building, Campolo said.  According to Campolo and the building's mortgage holder Ralph Provone, contractors were hired to do the work, but the work was done subpar.  Provone testified that he emailed the town board including Gent and the town code officers about other ideas to make the improvements.  Campolo said Provone's email went unanswered and the public hearing was scheduled.

Many residents who live near the building shared their concerns and frustrations to the board, calling the building an eye sore.

The town has set not date yet on when it will decide whether to declare the building usafe.

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