Sale of Firehouse Remains in Jeopardy

April 14, 1993

The sale of the Chambers Street firehouse is is jeopardy because the purchaser, Rysia de Ravel, has not been able to obtain fire easements from either of the owners of the properties adjacent to the structure.

Mary Vuglen, owner of 20 Nassau Street, has refused to grant an easement. Negotiations are continuing with Prince-ton University, the owner of the building on the north side of the firehouse. To date, the University has asked for a substantial amount of money for the easement, said Borough Attorney Michael Herbert.

An easement would allow use of the alley between the two properties in the event of fire. The ten-foot-wide space, said Mr. Herbert. may never be used, but the University is asking for “a substantial amount of money, all kinds of entitlements, and insurance in case of a law suit.”

According to an individual close to the negotiations, the University wants to be paid $200,000 for the easement.

Ms. de Ravel’s attorneys have asked for, and received, an extension until Thursday. It is likely that Borough Council will continue this extension until a later date in the hope that Ms. de Ravel and the University will reach an agreement.

Ms. de Ravel bid a half million dollars for the firehouse at a public auction, at which there were few bidders. Although less than the amount hoped for, her offer was accepted. The money will be used to offset the cost of the $2.8 million Wither-spoon Street firehouse, which replaced the Chambers Street facility.

If the deal with Ms. de Ravel falls through, the Borough would have to place the firehouse on auction again. It would also have to set restrictive conditions — such as the construction of an interior corridor and another front entrance —which would further reduce the potential for sale.

– Myrna K. Bearse

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