By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Led by contractor Brian Banning, Mayor Edward M. O’Brien on July 18 toured — and touted — a ranch-style house at 41 Harold St. that Banning recently refurbished, an example of the new partnership between the city and local contractors to improve West Haven’s aging housing stock.
Four years ago, the city foreclosed on the single-family home as well as a single-family home at 43 Linden St. that contractor Anthony Cordone has since remodeled, said Frank Fanelli III, a property maintenance/zoning enforcement officer of the Building Department who oversees the foreclosure sale process for West Haven.
Both houses were also severely blighted, affecting the quality of life in each neighborhood, Fanelli said.
After assuming ownership of the homes, the city put the properties out to bid, with Banning obtaining the Harold Street bid for $55,000 and Cordone securing the Linden Street bid for $52,000.
Banning and Cordone, known for building single-family homes in West Haven, then gutted the houses, giving them an extensive interior and exterior makeover — complete with such modern amenities as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring, and vinyl siding and windows.
O’Brien said the upgrades have significantly increased the value of the properties while growing the city’s grand list of taxable property.
The reconstructed homes, which are listed for sale, join several other city-owned properties that are being renovated by bid-winning contractors, underscoring the importance of the unique partnership, O’Brien said.
“What strikes me is that both builders have put significant dollars into the houses and are selling them for values greater than the highest-price homes in the area,” said Planning and Development Commissioner Joseph A. Riccio Jr., who supervises the Building Department. “These contractors show great faith and confidence in West Haven.”