Bakalli proposes city take back Home St. school land

Ruzhdi Bakalli wants to return the former Home Street Elementary School property to the City of Warren Redevelopment Authority, and wants to recoup the costs of demolition of the old school.

“I tried very hard to build homes. I went to many builders, but people are looking for cheaper houses,” he said at Thursday morning’s authority meeting. “This was my mistake, I did not do enough research. The market isn’t there. I just want to recoup the demolition costs. I’m ready to return the property to you.”

Commission member Chuck Hayes asked Bakalli how much he had tied up in the property, and Bakalli replied that there was the original $10,000 purchase price and $67,000 in demolition, less $14,000 from the sale of two lots.

But Bakalli said he would give the property to the RDA for the what he had invested, which adds up to $63,000.

He was asked who he had spoken with about development, and Bakalli indicated there were several builders and developers who said that they would need to build bigger houses to make money.

Hayes asked, “How big?”

Bakalli said a company in Jamestown,N.Y., told him $300,000.

“I’ll do anything you want, I don’t want to make any money, just recover demolition costs,” he said.

Hayes asked, “You would wait until we sold the property to get your investment back?”

“Yes. Yes,” Bakalli answered.

Hayes asked Bakalli if he had made arrangements to have the lawn mowed over the summer, and Bakalli said he had.

Board member Tricia Durbin asked David Hildebrand, the city’s planning and zoning offficer, if he had any contacts that might be interested in the development and he said he did, and would read through the minutes of previous meetings to research past efforts.

Hayes noted that demand for homes were mostly single-floor, ranch-style houses.