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Town of Lisbon seeks to purchase vacant bank building


LISBON — The Lisbon Town Council is again hoping to purchase the empty Upstate National Bank building after complaints from residents about the lack of parking for Town Hall visitors.

Town Supervisor James W. Armstrong and Councilors Gary J. Jarvis and Robert O. McNeil voted at Wednesday’s meeting to authorize town attorney Charles B. Nash to enter into negotiations with Blue Heron Realty, Ogdensburg, the agency selling the property.

Although the town council met in executive session to discuss how much they would be willing to pay for the building, councilors said publicly they were interested in paying no more than $1.

Councilor Robert O. McNeil said he thinks it would be worthwhile for the town to purchase the property for the parking spaces alone if they could get it cheap enough. “Could we buy it for $1?” he said.

In January 2012, a deal to purchase the building for $1 fell through following a breakdown in negotiations with Upstate National Bank, which closed the Lisbon location at the end of 2011.

At that time, Mr. Armstrong said an environmental study that took longer than expected and a failure by the bank to provide the town with information about the building resulted in the town council missing the deadline to purchase the bank.

Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, Mr. Armstrong said he thinks purchasing the building is “something we need to look into.”

At this point the town is hoping to demolish the building and use the area as a municipal parking lot, Mr. Armstrong said.

The building is listed for sale at $34,900, said Blue Heron Real Estate Broker Jennifer Stevenson.

“It’s in pretty good shape,” she said of the building, adding that it would make good office or retail space.

Ms. Stevenson said it has been heated and maintained since the bank closed.

Since the summer of 2013 there has been a sink hole getting progressively larger under the bank parking lot, Mr. Armstrong said, which would need to be repaired. The purchase of the building could also be held up if the town discovers asbestos, which would be costly to remove.

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