Thursday, June 04, 2009
Since the Riggis control the dance museum/Washington Baths at Saratoga Spa State Park we hope they will respect our history.
Riggi family behind historic Greenfield Avenue home purchase
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
By ANDREW J. BERNSTEIN, The Saratogian
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Nearly a month after neighbors first raised concerns over apparent demolition work being performed at 23 Greenfield Ave., the property’s new owners have come forward and announced their immediate plans for the building.
The two-story brick building on the corner of Greenfield and Woodlawn avenues was sold by James Taylor, owner of Taylor Made Products, manufacturer of boating accessories, to 23 Greenfield Avenue LLC on May 4.
On Monday, attorney John J. Carusone Jr., an agent of the LLC, identified Ronald Riggi as a principal in the LLC and sent a letter to the City Council indicating such. Riggi and his wife, Michele, are a high-profile couple in the Spa City social and philanthropic scene.
Carusone said the owner’s intention is to demolish the building as soon as a permit is approved by the city. A permit application was filed May 29.
“Beyond that, I don’t know,” said Carusone of plans for the property. Ron and Michele Riggi own a home on the corner of North Broadway and Greenfield Avenue, and their property abuts 23 Greenfield Ave. Reached by phone Monday evening, Michele Riggi deferred all comment on the matter to Carusone.
Following an asbestos assessment, abatement was conducted at the building in early May, which focused on removing asbestos in building materials, window frames and some roofs. This step is required by New York State law before a demolition permit can be approved. Although abatement was also conducted on the building in the early ’90s, work focused on pipe insulation in the basement, Carusone said.
23 Greenfield Ave., built in 1865, has been the subject of an outcry from some corners of the city, which culminated in a call for a moratorium on demolitions. The building is identified as a “contributing structure” to the city’s historic district, although it is not within the district itself.
The City Council is expected to vote on a moratorium at their meeting at 7 p.m. tonight, and Samantha Bosshart, executive director of the Saratoga Preservation Foundation, has called for the public to attend a public hearing at 6:40 p.m. to testify about the house.
“The built environment serves as an important link to our past that Saratoga Springs cannot afford to slowly erode with demolitions,” Bosshart stated in a press release. “The historic preservation of this building and others that are contributing buildings to a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places benefit our community and deserve protection even if not located in the local historic district. It is buildings like 23 Greenfield Avenue that make the city of Saratoga Springs the wonderful place it is to reside, work and visit.”
Carusone said the property owners might consider litigation should the city pursue a moratorium on demolition, although he added that the city may be within its rights to adopt the rule.
Since rumors first circulated that the Riggi family had bought the home, members of the community have questioned why the prominent family would demolish an historic structure.
“Everyone has a right to their opinion, but there can still be discussion between reasonable people,” he said, adding that property owners have a right, with proper permitting, to demolish a structure.
When first contacted about purchasing the home, Michele Riggi said she did not know anything about the building. Carusone said she was probably taken by surprise at the time.