A former federal Superfund site in Mineola that has sat dormant since 1991 will soon have a new owner who plans to turn the building into a profitable storage warehouse once the site has been remediated.
Adam Mann, who owns Jericho-based AJM Capital II, has signed a contract with the Village of Mineola that pardons repayment of tax liens owed on 435 First St. Mann will in turn give 40 percent of his annual profit from renting the space to the village while AJM Capital II is leasing the property, the contract states.
Decades have passed since the 42,000-square-foot building once housed Jackson Steel, but the building is still useful, Mann said.
“There is a very strong demand for industrial space in good areas with proximity to highways,” he said. “I’m quite confident that there will be a great tenant or tenants who will occupy the space.”
Jackson Steel, now defunct, operated in the building from 1970 to 1991. Employees making metal components used degreasers that contained harmful chemicals, including tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene and 1,1,1-trichloroethane, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Nassau County health officials, during an inspection, noticed that employees weren’t properly storing the degreasing sludge in drums.
Workers stopped using those chemicals in March 1985, the EPA said.
The agency placed the building on its Superfund National Priorities List in February 2000. It was removed from the list in September 2015 and marked ready for redevelopment in July 2016. The property is now on the New York State superfund list; the state Department of Environmental Conservation oversees the cleanup efforts.
During that time, the property changed ownership and accumulated $3.94 million in tax liens from Nassau County and $1.73 million from Mineola.
Mayor Scott Strauss said he likes Mann's plan for the property, in part because it "will have a low impact on the neighbors" — which include some single-family homes, a daycare facility, an apartment complex and a restaurant — and "we will see it put back on the tax rolls."
"While the [tax lien] amounts are being forgiven, there will still be payments to our taxpayers offsetting their loss, in addition to permanent, long-term tax revenue which isn't being generated now," Strauss said.
Mann, who plans to gut the interior of the building, said considerable work must be done before he can begin seeking tenants. The work includes coordinating with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to make sure the property is environmentally safe, Mann said.
“Aside from all the renovations — all the wear and tear to the utilities, windows, doors and roof — from an environmental standpoint, there’s still residual contaminants under the building slab that will need to be remediated,” Mann said. “We’ve already started the dialogue with the DEC.”
Mann said it's unclear how much it will cost to finish cleaning the property.
Village officials are watching Mann work through his challenges with the property and are "doing what we can to assist him along the way," Strauss said.
"Having this property become, once again, a productive area of our community is important to the neighborhood and the village as a whole," Strauss added. "The benefits Mineola will realize far outweigh what has happened in the past."
REPRIEVE ON TAX LIENS
The property at 435 First St. in Mineola has racked up millions in tax liens and other owed amounts that Adam Mann will not be responsible for paying in full. The list includes:
- $8.3 million to the federal Environmental Protection Agency for the cost of environmental remediation.
- $3.94 million to Nassau County for tax liens.
- $2 million to Norstar Bank for missed mortgage payments.
- $1.73 million to the Village of Mineola for tax liens
- $750,000 to Joseph Page, John Beransky and Charles Thomas for missed mortgage payments.
- $4,919 to Bellmore Restaurant Equipment for a legal settlement.