A developer has auctioned off artifacts from two 19th century buildings in Babylon Village to prepare for a controversial plan to remodel the structures for mixed-use development.
Ken Rogers, the owner of Rogers’ Development Corp. of Babylon, sold about 10 items worth $600 that had been left by previous owners in neighboring buildings on West Main Street and Mansfield Road, he said. The items sold included a fireplace mantel, wooden beams, old tools and even a tombstone, he said.
“The stuff that’s in there is just remarkable,” Rogers said.
He is seeking approval from the village to convert the pair of structures, which date to 1826 and 1869, into mixed-use properties with businesses on the ground floor and apartments or offices on the second level, Rogers said.
His proposal has sparked concerns from area residents, who said the buildings are historically significant and should be preserved as they are.
North Babylon resident James Muller started a petition over the summer in response to Rogers’ plan, asking the Babylon Village administration to adopt a historic code to prohibit the demolition or significant alteration of buildings constructed before 1912. The change.org petition has more than 1,300 signatures.
Mayor Ralph Scordino declined to comment on Muller’s petition, saying it has not yet been presented to the village board.
Muller briefly attended the Dec. 16 auction, he said.
“It’s his property,” Muller said of Rogers. “I hope he does the right thing with it.”
Rogers said construction on the building on West Main Street could begin before the year’s end, but that he is still awaiting usage permits from the village. He plans to preserve “as many of the original elements as possible,” he said.
The structures are two of at least 470 buildings in Babylon Village that a 1980 study found to potentially have historic significance, according to Babylon Town Historian Mary Cascone. At least 36 of them have been demolished since then, she said.
Two 18th-century structures and a third dating to 1907 were demolished in the village earlier this year, Cascone said.