It's called the "Linfield Industrial Park," but no industry of any description has taken place at the 197-acre site for more than a quarter of a century.
Hidden by years of heavy overgrowth, it's only when something unexpected happens there, like the June 29 fire that closed down Main Street in Linfield for much of the day, that the property registers on the radar of most residents.
"The condition of the property speaks for itself with the way the owners have let it fall into disrepair. The Township believes the parcel does have tremendous potential and is willing to work with the owners on a development plan," Limerick Township manager Dan Kerr said last week.
Limerick was interested in acquiring the property in 2007 in connection with a plan to develop a plant that would generate power from recycled waste, but those plans were abandoned.
Owner: 'We're working on something'
Though anyone found trespassing on the property is subject to arrest, the site has remained a draw for bored youths and so-called "urban exploration" buffs, who have documented the site's gradual reclamation by nature on various online forums and other websites.
Property owner Eugene Ostreicher, who lives in Brooklyn, NY, said he has plans for the redevelopment of the property but declined to provide any specifics.
"We're working on something. I can't tell you anything because it's not done. But we're working on it," Ostreicher said when reached by telephone last week.
Kerr said that the township has informally discussed redevelopment plans with Ostreicher's engineers for "three or four years" and had most recently heard from them just a few weeks ago, prior to the June 29 fire.
"They'll contact us, ask a few questions, and then we won't hear from them for a while," Kerr said. "We'd like to see a master plan."
Spotted development history
Ostreicher is no stranger to controversies surrounding his properties.
According to a 2004 report in the newspaper Newsday, Ostreicher pleaded guilty in 2001 to lying to a federal investigator and paid a $1 million fine following a 1999 incident in which a 21-year-old Mexican worker drowned in wet cement following a building collapse at a site where Ostreicher's company was the general contractor.
In 1991, one of Ostreicher's companies was sued by the New York attorney general in connection with a 27-unit condominium project, according to a 1999 report in the New York Post.
State and independent engineers found that project "was rife with structural defects, from flooded basements to unsound floors and walls," the Post reported.
Ostreicher settled that case in 1993 without admitting wrongdoing, but agreed to reimburse $710,000 to seven buyers who had already occupied the property.
The June 29 fire, which destroyed one of the Depression-era buildings of the former Kinsey whisky distillery, was difficult to combat because of the extensive overgrowth and a lack of fire hydrants in the area. Township officials had to authorize the deployment of a Philadelphia contractor to come out and demolish the building.
Kerr said the township had not yet been invoiced by Haines & Kibblehouse for the demolition, which he estimated would cost "a few thousand dollars."
Kerr said the township would, in turn, invoice Ostreicher for the cost of the demolition.
"If the invoice is not paid, then the township will seek any and all legal options to ensure reimbursement," Kerr said.
Kerr said the township next plans to pursue the condemnation of the remaining buildings on the site. They had not been condemned before now, Kerr said, because they are boarded or otherwise sealed and are generally "structurally sound."