By Leonard Sparks
03 August 2017
Loch Sheldrake— Owners of units at the fire-destroyed Grandview Palace
Condominiums are being asked to vote on selling or rebuilding the
property as a years-long lawsuit in which the property’s insurers are
seeking to void a policy worth $30 million is still undecided.
An annual owners’ meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Sunday at SUNY Sullivan’s Seelig Theatre.
On the agenda are votes to rebuild or sell the property, which is
uninhabitable and still filled with piles of debris from the April 14,
2012, fire that destroyed most of what used to be the Brown’s Hotel, a
Borscht Belt mainstay where Jerry Lewis performed.
In all, nine buildings at the 396-unit complex were destroyed in what
may have been the biggest fire in Sullivan County’s history. One
estimate put the cost of rebuilding at $47 million.
“Rebuilding is almost financially impossible,” said Rose Storch, who
sits on Grandview’s board of managers. “Selling the property, I think,
is a very good idea.”
Current board President Ivanna Johnson said in a June letter about the
annual meeting that each unit owner would have to pay $165,000 for
rebuilding. The number of existing unit owners is unknown since many
people stopped paying taxes and abandoned their ownership interest.
Others face being unable to vote on board resolutions because they are
in arrears on the $90 monthly maintenance fee Grandview’s board has
been assessing since the fire.
Selling the property would allow owners to escape the expense of
removing the huge amount of debris and asbestos—a cost that could be as
high as $4 million—and free unit owners from paying the maintenance
fee, Johnson said.
At least 75 percent of unit owners would need to approve rebuilding or selling, she wrote in the letter.
“I have no interest in moving back to that area,” said Dave Fehlauer,
who, along with his wife, bought a unit just months before the fire.
“If they could sell it for a decent price and get a little bit of money
back, that’s my preference. I just want to move on from it.”