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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Committee forming to monitor Abbott Manor situation

The Abbott Manor Nursing Home as it appeared in 2007.

Residents of the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District are forming a committee to monitor the situation with regard to the former Abbott Manor Nursing Home on Central Avenue, whose new owner Andre Yates hopes to re-open the building as a facility to house veterans.

The Van Wyck Brooks Historic District waged a years-long legal battle with a former owner over plans to expand the existing nursing home. That lawsuit was finally decided in the District's favor and new ground was broken in regard to historic preservation and zoning regulations, drawing the attention of the New York Times (see my 2007 posts here and here).

The building, which has been vacant for years since the previous owner lost its battle with the VWB Historic District to greatly expand the facility, is in considerable disrepair, with evidence of water penetration of the upper floors.

Makeshift attempts to deal with water penetration.

Yates, who was given permission by the Historic Preservation Commission over a year ago to replace the roof like-with-like, has yet to begin work on the property.

In addition, no application has been made with the Zoning Board concerning Yates' proposal to use the former Abbott Manor Nursing Home as a residence for homeless veterans.

Meanwhile, Yates is making fundraising appeals to the general public for the project, for which he has formed the nonprofit Yates House for Military Veterans. A golf outing fundraiser at Union County's Galloping Hill Golf Course was reported to have taken place September 6 (see here).

The Yates House website (see here) mentions that it plans an addition to the rear of the existing building to meet accessibility requirements. The website also includes information on the group's mission, board of directors and more. While registered with the IRS, the nonprofit Guidestar, which monitors 501(c)(3) organizations shows no Form 990 financial information has yet been made available (see here).

Yates, an Edison resident and real estate investor, has yet to reach out to the Van Wyck Historic District and his lack of candor with the community about his plans leaves many feeling uneasy. It also has not helped that he bet on the losing horse in the Plainfield Democratic mayoral primary (his lawn sported Sharon signs), in a town where these things are noted and long remembered.

Yates bet on the losing horse in June's Democratic Primary Election.

Anyone interested in more information about the Abbott Manor House Committee is invited to get in touch with member Larry Quirk by email.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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