Lanzi Bros. sue over incomplete Amsterdam land deal

FONDA — Three limited liability corporations are facing a lawsuit for allegedly failing to complete a multi-phase agreement to purchase properties along Route 30 in the town of Amsterdam and damaging the parcel landowners were left with as a result of the unclosed deal.

Lanzi Brothers of Amsterdam, Inc. represented by attorney Robert Abdella, filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Montgomery County on Thursday against Veeders Mill Amsterdam, WDG Amsterdam and Northwood Real Estate Ventures.

The suit stems from a purchase contract under which Lanzi Brothers was to sell five adjoining properties along Route 30 spanning 8.2 acres to Northwood for $2.3 million total that was entered in August 2020.

Veeders Mill later took over the purchase contract and its obligations from Northwood. The two LLCs list the same Rochester based mailing address for Caliber Commercial Brokerage in property records.

The transaction would be split into two phases with the first four properties to be closed on for $1.5 million by Sept. 1, 2021, and the final property to be closed on for $800,000 by Sept. 1, 2022.

The first batch of properties were acquired on schedule with the required payment in late August 2021. Veeders Mill then sold the southernmost parcel where Popeyes now operates to WDG for $650,000 on Sept. 14, 2021.

The Veeders Mill commercial plaza was subsequently constructed on the site between St. Mary’s Memorial Campus and Amsterdam Commons based on plans developed and approved by the town while the properties were still owned by Lanzi Brothers.

The plaza features a Popeyes, Chipotle Mexican Grill and WellNow Urgent Care. The medical facility has yet to open. Another commercial space that would be situated behind the other businesses was planned at the site, but has not been constructed to date.

Lanzi Brothers allege in the lawsuit that Veeders Mill failed to acquire the final parcel by last year’s deadline and has ignored legal demands to close on the property as required under the contract terms and a pre-closing possession agreement signed in June 2021. The fifth lot at the rear of the site was tentatively eyed for construction of a hotel.

Veeders Mill entered the pre-closing agreement “upon the express promise” to buy all five properties for $2.3 million under the terms of the contract, according to the lawsuit.

Furthermore, the suit contends construction by Veeders Mill and WDG on the already purchased properties caused stormwater runoff and other “undesired foreign materials” to be carried onto the fifth parcel that caused “substantial damage.”

“The defendants’ actions as aforesaid were unreasonable insofar as they knew that said actions would cause substantial damage to the plaintiff’s neighboring property,” the lawsuit states. “The value of the parcel has been greatly diminished and the plaintiff will be forced to incur great expense in and about endeavoring to cure its land.”

Construction of the plaza was nearing completion before it was briefly halted last April when the town issued a stop work order due to the failure of project developers to install a new retention pond to provide stormwater management as required in approved plans.

The order was withdrawn and work resumed about a week later after the town signed off on the developers’ revised plans to construct a swale capable of carrying stormwater to an existing retention pond.

Lanzi Brothers had granted an easement allowing the developers to construct a road on a portion of the fifth lot prior to acquiring it to support the plaza construction. That agreement stipulated the developers would close on the lot under the contract terms and would not otherwise infringe on the parcel.

Specifically, the developers were barred from trespassing on the lot or encumbering it with debris, drainage, construction materials or other foreign materials.

The LLCs are accused of breach of both the contract and the pre-closing agreement, trespassing and causing a “private nuisance.” The lawsuit is seeking $800,000 plus interest for the unclosed land sale and at least $183,000 for the property damages, as well as attorney fees and other costs.

Representatives for Veeders Mill, Northwood and WDG did not respond to requests for comment for this story on Friday.

Reach Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

By Ashley Onyon

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