Fear of ‘Demolition by Neglect’ for Historic 1780 Home on God’s Acre, in Foreclosure

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Town officials say they’re concerned that if a long-vacant 1780 home on God’s Acre doesn’t get a tenant soon it could end up a demolition-by-neglect.

The antique at 4 Main St. has been unoccupied and neglected for long enough that those in charge of New Canaan's Historic District, in which it sits, say they're worried about a 'demolition by neglect.' Credit: Michael Dinan

The antique at 4 Main St. has been unoccupied and neglected for long enough that those in charge of New Canaan’s Historic District, in which it sits, say they’re worried about a ‘demolition by neglect.’ Credit: Michael Dinan

If the antique, Greek Revival-style home at 4 Main St. comes down it “would be horrendous in the middle of our historic district,” Janet Lindstrom, acting chairman of the Historic District Commission said at the group’s most recent meeting.

“That would be just terrible, and as one can see, it’s not being occupied,” she said at the Oct. 23 meeting, held in the Town House annex meeting room at the New Canaan Historical Society. “I don’t know if it has heating or what’s going on.”

Tax records show that the home has been owned since 1984 by James Talbot. He could not be reached for comment.

One local couple, whose detailed plans for restoring the prominent 10-room, 7,000-square-foot home had been looked on favorably by the commission, made an offer on the .43-acre property that they said in March was accepted by the bank. Two months later, commissioners said Talbot had rejected that offer.

The house is being foreclosed upon, and for more than two years, a lawsuit brought by the bank has been tied up in court.

The Bank of New York Mellon filed a civil lawsuit in July 2012, naming Talbot as a defendant, records show. According to a copy of the lawsuit’s complaint, Talbot had taken out a note for a loan in May 2007 in the amount of $2,280,000, and the mortgage on the property was assigned in October 2011 to The Bank of New York Mellon. The mortgage and loan went into default, according to the lawsuit. There are several liens on the property, the lawsuit says, including one from an eye care device provider with U.S. headquarters in Marlborough, Mass. that in March 2010 won a judgment of nearly $90,000 following its own civil lawsuit filed against Talbot for nonpayment of rental fees for a digital imaging system, according to a copy of that complaint.

The bank on Oct. 13 filed a “Foreclosure Mediation Objection”—essentially saying that Talbot has been nonresponsive in the process of trying to come to a mutually agreeable resolution to the foreclosure.

“Plaintiff has been requesting documents for months with limited cooperation from the borrower,” the lawsuit said. “Documents requested in August were not submitted. At the mediation on Sept. 9, 2014, these documents were again requested. Borrower had yet to submit a complete financial package. Given the consistent lack of cooperation in addition to the more than two years that have elapsed since the commencement of the action, Plaintiff seeks to terminate mediation.”

The next date for the lawsuit is Dec. 1, according to the Connecticut Judicial Branch.

Neither Talbot’s attorney nor the attorney for the Bank of New York Mellon were immediately available for comment.

Meanwhile, Historic District commissioner Terry Spring lamented that the home appears to have been vacant for about two years, and the structure itself likely is deteriorating from neglect.

“It’s a shame,” she said. “It’s such a lovely building and there really are great possibilities. It’s so close to town.”

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