Saugerties plans to tear down vacant house

The owners of 508 York Street abandoned the house more than seven years ago, as did the lending institution that wrote the mortgage. Neighbors were left to worry about vagrants and vermin. It will be torn down in the coming weeks. (photo by Robert Ford)

In the coming weeks, the so-called zombie house at 508 York Street in the Malden section of Saugerties will be torn down. The town board recently voted to go to bid to find a contractor to tear the abandoned house down. The town had been trying to determine who owned the house for years.

When the bid is awarded, the contractor will have to do a full inspection to see whether there is asbestos and if so submit a remediation plan to town building inspector Alvah Weeks. Money for the work, according to Weeks, will come from the town budget. The town will be reimbursed for the work after Ulster County sells the property for back taxes.


No one wants this zombie house and others like it in the town. Usually the houses are abandoned when the owner has failed to pay the mortgage. They are usually in such bad shape by then that it isn’t worth it for the lending institution or bank to fix it up and sell it.

Neighbors of the 508 York Street home have been worrying that vagrants would occupy the structure. They feared it might catch fire, and that the fire would spread to their homes. At one time the house was full of rats.

Weeks said he’s not sure whether the rats are still there. If so, they’ll flee to the rest of the neighborhood when the building comes down. It’ll be up to the contractor to make sure that doesn’t happen.

There are 3 comments

  1. JamaicaonHudson

    It’s beyond ridiculous that, given the many working-poor families (who would love the opportunity to own a home) that “zombie properties” even exist. There’s no reason why this beautiful (and more than likely, historic) property with an ample setback, bucolic setting, and proximity to the Hudson River should be demolished due to dilapidation and the presence of “rats”. There are places in the City that are infested with rats, bats, cats–and are still on the market for millions. So, this home has some issues… Furthermore, a town that has enough money for the demolition of such properties, should also be able to GIVE them away to those who need shelter; give some of these houses away as inducement to move to the village—plenty of people would jump at the chance to become homeowners in exchange for hiring an exterminator, fixing up the property, and getting it back on the tax rolls

    1. Michael Sullivan Smith

      These are good and logical thoughts. If the reimbursement is from sale for back taxes has the property been offered with the house for back taxes? That is the way things are usually done. I picked up an abandoned house right around the corner from this one in the 1980s for a couple of thousand dollars. It had the same layout. It is now beautifully restored by an owner that came after me, and a credit to the community.

  2. js

    A lot of these problem properties will get addressed when property taxes around here become less over-the-top-omg-wtffff-its-a-second-goddamned-mortgage-and-a-half obscene.

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