The Sunday, September 9, 2007 Auburn Citizen listed the following property transaction:
"Douglas Wood, 1559 Route 90, King Ferry, and Jan Wood, Galveston, Texas, to Pleasant Rowland, LLC, Madison, Wis., property at 378 Main Street, $1,352,646. Assessment $270,000."
So, more than a year after her announced "departure" date of June 1, 2006, Rowland purchased another prominent Aurora building at a wildly inflated price -- fully 3.5 times the 2007 full market value of $380,282 recorded in the Cayuga County Office of Real Property Services.
A few years ago, Doug Wood bought this property on the corner of Cherry Avenue and Main Street, the former Doughty House (later owned by Bev & Tuck Higgins and then Judy Warren), for $150,000.
It was said that he hoped to fix it up a bit and take advantage of its commercial zoning to rent it out much needed retail space to small independent local businesses (many evicted by Rowland's LLC). When only partly finished with his renovations, it seems that he ran out of money -- apparently due to the bizarre, expensive and unique demands placed on his project by the Planning Board.
Soon thereafter, it became obvious to everyone watching that Rowland had moved in and taken over -- the project became a very costly fantasy invention of an "historic" building that never existed. An entirely new facade was designed, additions were radically altered, and her various trademarks appeared: cedar roof shingles, copper gutters, demolition of all walls opposite doors, white-on-white interiors throughout, etc.
Upon completion, proposed rents were set far too high for any displaced Aurora merchants, even if they were "accepted" as tenants by Rowland. So the entire building was rented to a rabid Rowland promoter who happens to be married to a Wells College Trustee.
The property did not change hands at that time, but rumor was that it would "revert" to Rowland in five years.
Apparently, she could not wait: see "Rowland Buys More of Aurora" in the September 15, 2007 Auburn Citizen and the 9/18/07 Syracuse Post Standard report: "Pleasant Rowland LLC has purchased a property at 378 Main St., Aurora. Douglas E. and Jan R. Wood sold the property, closing Sept. 4, for $1,352,646. The property at Cherry and Main streets houses Jane Morgan's Little House, a women's apparel shop operated by Randy Zabriskie. Out back is an unattached garage that Douglas Wood renovated and which houses an odds and ends shop run by MacKenzie-Childs. The Woods bought the property in 2003 from Judith A. Warren for $150,000, according to The Post-Standard archives. Doug Wood took a $300,000 loan from Rowland to continue renovations...."
Earlier Extravagant Purchases
We'll have Rowland to thank as real estate taxes rise in response to her wildly inflated purchase prices -- and drive moderate income property owners out of our village. No one will pay us 3-4 times assessed market value for our homes, although soon they may be taxed as if they were really worth that much!
Rowland personally purchased Abbott House (a 30-room lake-fron mansion) for $1.1 million in 2001, when it was assessed at $291,600.
In May, 2001, Rowland purchased, reportedly for her own use, a long-abandoned, very grand but derelict home lacking central heating and plumbing, which was assessed at $99,500. Rowland paid $300,000 for historic Leffingwell House.
On May 22, 2001, Rowland purchased the small house at 1 Orchard Lane, assessed at $69,000, from the estate of Anne Russ for $ 85,000
On June 1, 2001, Rowland purchased the Heary Building (a 6,500 square foot commercial property) for the Aurora Foundation LLC at a price of $350,000, when it was assessed at $124,100.
Anyone who has figures for Rowland's other purchases, please send them in...