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State Farm Building on Route 23 to be Demolished

Property has remained unused for years.

The former State Farm building on Route 23 North is being demolished.

The town granted the owner of the property a demolition permit recently, town planner John Szabo confirmed Monday.

The building has already begun to be torn down. The entrance to the property on the service road on Route 23 was closed and the for sale sign that was posted on the property was not on display Monday.

Piles of debris could be seen from an adjacent property and work crews were on the site Monday afternoon.

The unused property is located next to a large office building and Kohl's. It has remained unused for years. 

Lowe's applied to construct a store on the property years ago. However, residents of the nearby Packanack Lake section of town flooded public meetings on the matter in protest. They testified that the store would cause too much traffic and noise, and would disrupt their quality of life. A new Lowe's store was built in Riverdale on Route 23 North a few miles away.

Zoning department personnel said that no construction applications have been filed for the property to date.

The property has an assessed value of $3.5 million; the building is valued at $1.5 million. More than $243,000 in taxes was paid on the property in 2012.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

stewart resmer January 15, 2013 at 05:28 PM
What an incredible state of affairs where such a building is ground in to rubble rather than the owner being able to place a tennant? Or in order to mitigate taxes a building is brought down instead? And to think this is happening in a town where during Hurricane Irene the township had no shelter space available to those driven from their homes? I would be fascinated to know who the owners are and who in local gvt knew this demolition permit had been applied for and did nothing to find some alternative to this waste.
Lilly Brown January 15, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Maybe some people who are still homeless from Hurricane Sandy, have a problem with that?
Rover January 15, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Build another dog park! Thats something we all need!!!
George January 15, 2013 at 05:59 PM
@Robert...the below excerpt came from the 2010 Township Master plan that sums it up I believe ( I also think the 35,000 limitation was set after the Lowe's "scare" and to prevent any big boxes, then after seeing all the development and ratables end up in Riverdale, they increased it the limitation to 55,000....apparently too little and too late! d. The Board notes that “Big Box” retail establishments exist within the Township primarily within established retail centers. Given the concern over increased traffic associated with big box retail development and the prominent lack of any such free standing uses along the Route 23 or Route 46 corridor within the Township, the Board finds that such development would be out of character with the land use pattern associated with the existing highway corridor and therefore, should be discouraged. However, it is recommended that the current limitation of 35,000 square feet for a single retail user in the HC, Highway Commercial Zone is excessive and has stifled redevelopment opportunities within both corridors. Consequently, it is recommended that the maximum square footage be increased to 55,000 square feet to enable potential anchor stores to co-develop with other uses as an incentive to spark redevelopment of vacant or otherwise underutilized commercial properties.
Lenore Caccavella Wolke January 15, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Allwood Commons off of Allwood Road in Clifton is the perfect example of what a town mall should look like. Hopefully Wayne town fathers will try to guide some enterprising companies to do the same here in Wayne.
Robert Pignatello January 15, 2013 at 06:16 PM
I see. That seems to tie back to some of newspaper accounts I vaguely remember. Thank you for this.
DaveG January 15, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Simple. Go to the tax office and ask to see the assessment for the property. It will tell you who owns it.
DaveG January 15, 2013 at 07:15 PM
My recollection is that Valley National Bank bought both buildings when State Farm shut down its operations.
Robin Steinberg January 15, 2013 at 08:45 PM
The State Farm Property was old and needed major updating. It was probably cheaper to tair it down. My property is less than 1000 ft from this bldg. There are over 40 homes in my neighborhood that pay a combined tax revenue of over 550,000 per year, if not more. Putting a Lowe's would have lowered these property values and decreased property tax revenue as well. Not a good location for a store of such magnitude. Not to mention, Ratzer Rd is a county rd. and driveway not zoned for heavy traffic usage. Remember when State Farm was here? There was a police officer letting traffic out of the bldg. at 5:00pm. Look at the traffic on Alps Rd with GAF traffic. Its terrible. Town rneeds to better prepare for the future. I do like the dog park suggestion though. I know I would use that, not to mention it would be green acres and the township would get State money for that.
Frank Gallagher January 15, 2013 at 11:34 PM
The site is rumored to be in line for the sports bubble that was planned for the Valley Road extension. Rt 23 is a a much better location for that kind of facility, hope it pans out.
Lorraine January 16, 2013 at 02:07 AM
I am all for trying to fill empty buildings that will add to the community and increase tax revenue - but the Lowe's proposal was not the answer. First, it was more than a "few" residents who protested the proposal. The municipal building was packed with concerned residents. Secondly, the majority of the residents protesting where not from Packanack Lake, but from the residential area that butts up against the back of this property. Lastly, the Lowe's proposal did not get approval because it required several variances. The project required a building that was much larger than the structure that currently sits on the site. I also believe they were asking for a variance for the number parking spaces that were required. Its a good thing that the Lowes was not built.
Joe videodummy January 16, 2013 at 03:47 AM
The property would be a suitable home for a new Wayne Municipal Complex. Construct a new pubic Library behind Preakness school, relocate the Board of Ed. offices to Valley Rd extention and bulldoze the property leaving Valley High-school. On that build a new sports complex/bubble that's run by the Parks and Rec Department. Hopefully the State Farm Wrecking Crew will head to the Wayne Hills Mall when they finish. That's the next one on the chopping block.
Rover January 16, 2013 at 04:19 AM
The farce of parking restrictions and parking variance requests ... when the lot is full, people come back later!
Elizabeth Taylor January 16, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Why don't they put a wrecking ball to Wayne Hills Mall, to the Friendly's, to Preakness Chevrolet, to the restaurant across the street from the dealer, the Ihop building, Fortunoff's, Costcutter's, the Motor Vehicle building, Kmart the dump!...how many more am I missing! Can't believe this town of wealth is looking like a retail ghost town. Clifton is actually looking more desireable than us! Ridiculous - Mayor what are you going to do about it!
Elizabeth Taylor January 16, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Oh and Wayne Dodge with its 3 cars in the lot - what a joke!
Frank Gallagher January 16, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Build a new municipal building, a new library and a sports bubble? Oh sure, throw in a new HS, or maybe a power plant in on your spending spree. Parks & Rec run the bubble? Good Lord, please no. Let commercial developers build the bubble.
Robert Pignatello January 16, 2013 at 04:32 PM
One has to wonder how much of this commentary is tongue in cheek but one thing is pretty obvious and that is our commercial areas are run down, dated and tired looking, abandoned, and not diverse or appealing for residents to want o visit and spend time there. I think the areas I saw named are certainly among the most glaring. What's amazing is that there does not seem to be an official recognition of this by our government leaders as being a problem or great public discussion about turning things around. It didn't happened over night either. It has been a slow but steady decline. I have not reviewed the town's master plan but we seem to only be in reactive mode here. Surrounding towns are taking actions (Clifton) was sited and we just preside over
Robert Pignatello January 16, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Continued decline and accept it as something we can't influence.
wyldthang18 January 16, 2013 at 04:37 PM
don't think that will work, not enough chemicals in the ground for it. yeah its safe for humans yet you are building a park for dogs? lets see how many people complain in the next few years that their dogs died of some type of cancer, they blame it on the park, and then that gets shut down again and we are back to square one.
wyldthang18 January 16, 2013 at 04:41 PM
i agree but he is too busy trying to get JCPL out of our town, unless he has forgotten about that issue already and he's on to something else.
Justice January 16, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Anyone who thinks Clifton is so wonderful, should mo ve there and be happy. Why stay in a bad marriage,so to speak, when it is so easy to divorce?:
Mike Berr January 16, 2013 at 05:27 PM
I think we need a Walmart in Wayne. The location would be perfect for it.
Richard Dean January 16, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Thank you to the Wayne residents who did not want Lowe's. Your loss is a huge gain for the Borough of Butler (not Riverdale) which collects about $400,000 annually in property taxes and probably about the same in receipts to our Butler Municipal Power & Light. Lowe's is also extremely good to organizations of our area. BTW, as I recall when it was built as State Farm's northeast regional office, it was one of the first corporate offices to locate in Wayne Township. As for Walmart, since the Walmart store opened in Riverdale in 2006, a number of WM associates have told me that when the century old quarry is out of rock that there are plans to build a larger Walmart Supercenter at Hamburg Tpke & I-287 with the present store probably to become a Sam's. Those stores in Riverdale and Butler routinely draw customers from near and far, including NY State because of the lower sales tax and none on clothing and most food.
Elizabeth Taylor January 17, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Exactly Mr Dean. If our town took care of all these vacant retail spots the residents would stop complaining about their taxes.
Scondo January 17, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Thank goodness for at least one constructive idea. Yes, a Walmart would be nice.
NancyMurphy January 17, 2013 at 04:39 PM
I've been away many years. Where is/was the Wayne Towne Center?
NancyMurphy January 17, 2013 at 04:44 PM
I remember the building being built as the State Farm region office in the very early 60's. My mother worked there along with a lot of other folks from the area.
Elizabeth Taylor January 17, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Why would Oak Hill Residents approve a Walmart. They wouldn't approve a Lowe's. They would rather continue paying their high taxes. Thank you Richard Dean for your comment.
Mr. Tom Fox January 21, 2013 at 03:44 PM
As Richard Dean stated, the Lowes store (located in Butler; NOT Riverdale) has brought MANY positive things to the town, things that Wayne residents lost out on. One thing that he did not metion as so many people do is that the valuations of the homes in the area did NOT go down due to the Lowes moving in. That is a scare tactic that some folks like to pass around to cause panic and mass hysteria so that they can get others to join them in their fight against their preconceived enemy. As for the Alwood Mall in Clifton, that is indeed a great example for others to look at. It is architectually attractive and shopping friendly. Wayne needs a City manager or mayor who has the forsight and vision to build shopping centers like this so as to bring Wane back to the proud beautiful town it once was...
Coco March 06, 2013 at 07:50 PM
As far as I'm concern, I would love to the farms come back to Wayne. It's why I moved out of Paterson to Wayne in the first place.

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