It's been nearly 3 years since Liberty Travel moved out of the box-like office at 1850 Nesconset Highway in favor of newer digs in Stony Brook. Unfortunately for Richard Ulrich, the real estate agent whose family owns the building, no new tenant ever moved in.
And he could really use one.
"Right now we're using it as a temporary office, but we want to find a tenant," he said, adding his family is paying the taxes on the building while the property lies in wait.
Liberty Travel had paid $3,500 a month for the lease, Ulrich said, before moving out in September 2009 at setting up shop at 2350 Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook. Today, Ulrich said they are asking $2,000 a month.
While a woman who answered the phone at the Stony Brook Liberty Travel wouldn't comment on why they moved, Ulrich said the new location, which is more visible from the road and in a shopping center including a Starbucks, gets better foot traffic.
But for Ulrich's tucked-away building, the options are limited.
"The Town of Smithtown downzoned it from [wholesale and service industry] zoning to nonconforming use," which means it's really limited to an office. A few doctors and accountants have shown interest, he said, but in those cases they wanted to buy and not lease.
"By nonconforming it they kid of tie our hands."
Ulrich, who is 61 years old, said the building, which is owned by his mother, will pass to a handful of family members. And because the way the corporation handling the building is structured, they would pay a very large tax if they sell it before 2014.
That's why Ulrich is holding out hope for a tenant.
The building is only accessible by the westbound side of Route 347 and sits on a 2.4 acre lot, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island.
It was designed by Ulrich's uncle in the 1960s.
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