Sections

Stark negotiates sale of Jamaica Savings Bank

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The Beaux Arts bank building on Jamaica Avenue, another on Jamaica Avenue and apartment buildings on Farmers Boulevard were slated to be purchased, although information on the potential buyer or price was unavailable, said a representative for Solomon Good and Company, a Manhattan-based firm that sells foreclosed properties.

The properties were placed under contract earlier this month.

At least two of the properties, including the old Jamaica Savings Bank site, were supposed to be sold at a foreclosure auction, but were put up for sale in a pre-auction deal, the representative said. The city sold liens on the buildings to recover the back taxes Stark owed on the properties.

Stark, who inherited more than $4 million in property when her father died in 1988, was unavailable for comment.

The Jamaica Savings Bank building, at 161-02 Jamaica Ave., was scheduled for auction earlier this month, but sale negotiations were started prior to the auction, the Solomon Good representative said.

Stark has drawn the ire of local developers for not maintaining or managing her properties, including the ailing Beaux Arts structure, valued at $351,000. The building has deteriorated and has been covered in graffiti for years.

The building was headed toward landmark designation in 1996, but the City Council overturned the designation, allegedly at Stark's request, according to a source familiar with the building's history.

Stark developed a reputation for letting her buildings decline and for accumulating dozens of Buildings Department violations.

The other buildings believed to have been sold, including the storefront on Jamaica Avenue and the apartment buildings on Farmers Boulevard near 114th Avenue, also amassed violations, according to the agency's Web site.

The city has sold liens on many of her properties to try to recoup back taxes she owed. The firms holding the liens scheduled foreclosure auctions if she still did not pay, but she also had a reputation for making a last-minute payment to save the properties from the auction block.

Yet those familiar with the Jamaica real estate market said she may have changed her tune. Stark has begun to renovate some of her holdings and is looking for ways to develop others, said Robin Eshaghpour, owner of the Sutphin Properties realty company. Eshaghpour owns a building on 195th Street next to a Stark site, he said.

"She's looking to work to clean and restore her properties," Eshaghpour said. "She is looking to develop her Sutphin Boulevard property. She really wants to do the right thing."

Stark is trying to clean up the former Long Island Press building, as well, Eshaghpour said.

"She inherited a lot of property very quickly," he said. "I think she was just overwhelmed."

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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