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Historic and Deteriorating Adams-Bernstein House Up for Sale

The home, an 1840s farmhouse named for the tenant farmers who built it and the couple who once lived there, is located at 3147 Old Yorktown Rd.

A historic house that was left to deteriorate for years in Yorktown will soon be out on the market in hopes of finding a buyer willing to renovate it. 

The final agreement is expected to be worked out at the June 5 town board meeting to allow local realtor William Primavera to be the listing agent for the home.

The house, also known at the Adams-Bernstein House, is located at 3147 Old Yorktown Rd. It's an 1840s farmhouse named for the tenant farmers who built it and the couple who once lived there.

The historic property is a controversial site that has fallen into disrepair in the 20 years since it was bequeathed to the town of Yorktown in the will of Helen Bernstein. Since then it's presented somewhat of a challenge for the town – considering whether it should be kept by the town or how best to dispose of it.

Two years ago, the Adams-Bernstein House was among a number of town-owned properties that were put through a public auction. It was sold at the  for $170,000, but the highest bidder Hugo Rivas backed out of closing, losing his deposit.

"This is a sweet moment for me," Primavera said of being awarded the bid through the town. "I have been working for more than nine years to solve the dilemma of this once-beautiful home falling into disrepair as our town’s most dilapidated building."

Primavera had to have the property serve as a Yorktown Visitors Center and the office of the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce. He also envisioned the space to be shared with the Yorktown Museum.

"It was a beautiful plan, and I got all the necessary people and organizations together to contribute their time and money to the effort," he said. "I think that the administration at that time really missed the boat by not taking that opportunity."

Then, and have it developed for affordable housing. That offer also was also turned down.

Primavera said he was happy town board members have now decided to award him with the contract. 

According to town records, the Adams-Bernstein house was built around 1830 and features 2,284 square feet, three bedrooms, one bathroom and a working fireplace. In addition there is an old barn on the property, built around the same time, where at the turn of the last century, calves and cows were sold. The property has 6.327 acres, of which 3.702 acres are protected by a conservation easement. 

Primavera said he hopes a buyer will renovate the historic house, rather than tear it down. 

"Renovating an old house which most likely has lead paint and asbestos which would have to be re-mediated, can be a daunting task and may require $250,000 or more to accomplish," he said. "But hopefully we’ll find someone who will recognize and want to save this example of the early Greek Revival/Pre-Victorian style of architecture, simplified for a modest farm house in the 1830s."

The house will go on the market as soon as the details of the contract are worked out, probably by June 5, according to Primavera. The list price will be $215,000. 

"This will be a very gratifying project and a fun one to work on," Primavera said. "The property is lovely and never has there been a greater need, totally justified for TLC!"

To learn more about the property and its sale price, Primavera can be reached at Bill@PrimaveraRealEstate.com or contacted directly at 914-522-2076.

Elizabeth Raver May 31, 2012 at 10:52 AM
If they really wanted this house to stay, it would be sold for far less (under 100K) considering how much money will have to be put into it for renovation. Considering that it was willed to the town, the town sold it for too much ($170,000). Today, it is being sold for way too much. A beautiful and historic home will be lost due to greed.
Jackie Dzaluk May 31, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I agree absolutely. That was the first thing that I thought. if it "sold" in the open market at$170,000 why in a declining market would it be listed for more? Nobody wanted it at $130,000 less so what fool would buy it?
William Primavera May 31, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Thank you, Plamena, for excellent reporting!
theobserver May 31, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Take a lot of good pictures, create and put them in a new section in the Yorktown Museum. Have a public auction and sell the property as is with no historic restrictions. Get the property back on the tax rolls and get our Town back in the business of keeping us safe and keeping our roads clean, not in creating more expense for our taxpayers.
Jean-Francois de Laperouse May 31, 2012 at 06:07 PM
In difficult economic times, it is understandable that people are more concerned with basic needs than historic preservation. However, it should be noted that the Bernsteins believed very strongly in the importance of local history and stipulated in their bequest that the house was to be used by the Yorktown Museum. It is a shame, therefore, that Mr. Primavera's previous proposal was never realized and that the house and barn have been left to deteriorate so badly and to depreciate so much in value. Our country and our town were not built in a day and we should honor the hard work of those who were here before us by preserving what little is left of the past. It should also be noted that there is a small but historically significant cemetery on the property across the road from the house that Eagle Scout troops have offered to tend.

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