City Of Binghamton, New York Taking Legal Action For Control Of Dilapidated North Side Plaza
In a press conference on Thursday, City of Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham announced that the City had taken legal action to take control of the dilapidated Binghamton Plaza through eminent domain.
Binghamton Plaza Inc., the owners of the Binghamton Plaza filed for bankruptcy in 2019, owing over $739,000 in property taxes which was later reduced to approximately $400,000 through litigation. That bankruptcy created an automatic stay for the duration of the proceedings, so until recently the city has been unable to do anything about the run down property located on a former landfill.
The legal action taken by the City requested that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court grant an exception to the stay. Mayor Kraham also noted that there is Supreme Court precedent and established case law for taking this legal action to obtain the property through eminent domain.
In his statement, Mayor Kraham said "My message today is clear. Enough is enough. For decades the Binghamton Plaza has continued to deteriorate with no plan and no action from the property owners. It has diminished quality of life for north side families and hurt nearby small businesses. Residents deserve better."
Should the City of Binghamton acquire ownership of the property, Mayor Kraham said the site would be demolished. The site would then be available for commercial development.
Regarding the property, Mayor Kraham stated "Right now we have abandoned storefronts. This is a huge commercial property in Binghamton, one of the largest. It's a stone's throw away from downtown. It's very strategic. It is being underutilized. It has been left to go to waste and we can not accept that. This represents an opportunity not just for the north side but for our region to have a dynamic future development."
Mayor Kraham also noted that the process is only just beginning and would likely take at least 12-18 months to be settled, although their current motion before the federal bankruptcy court should be decided this summer. The City will be working with other local businesses as well as the north side community to decide the future of the Binghamton Plaza should they acquire the property from the current owners through eminent domain.