Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trouble In Paradise?

290 Lincoln Avenue for sale ... again

You-Pang Tzeng, one of the more recent carpetbaggers come a calling to Amherst with full pockets of cash to invest in our highly sought after housing stock, has made some interesting business maneuvers in the past few months.

For the first time in his illustrious career he has put a property up for sale, specifically his controversial purchase of 290 Lincoln Avenue, where he quickly demolished a historic -- to some anyways -- barn in the backyard to create a separate building lot (which also scares the Hell out of the neighborhood).

Last June You-Pang Tzeng purchased 290 Lincoln Avenue for $429,000, well below its assessed value of $465,000.  The property is currently valued at  $408,400 but that does not include the building lot which was formerly the "historic barn."

That property is valued at $135,400 or a total value for the house and building lot of $543,800.

So if You-Pang Tzeng is simply trying to make money on flipping property, rather than renting it, he certainly will accomplish that goal when these two choice pieces sell.

Interestingly back in November Tzeng had planned to build an addition between two adjacent homes, 60/62 and 64/66 Railroad Street, but withdrew his Special Permit Zoning request shortly before the matter would be discussed by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

290 Lincoln Avenue is now for sale at $440,000 and probably will not last long at that price.   Of course the house itself is still a "single family," meaning one "family"-- as large as that may be -- or no more than 4 "unrelated" housemates, which usually means "students."

At that price and with a Special Permit required to expand to a two family, chances are better than average the property will not be snatched up by a slumlord looking to pack it with college aged youth.

The adjacent lot could be another story, but at that assessed value just for the lot it would be kind of a waste to build a cheap structure on it simply for student rental stock.

Either way, the neighborhood hopes and prays for an upper middle class family with two kids, a dog ... and no more than four cars.


Anonymous said...

...two kids that will go to school in-district.

Larry Kelley said...

That's okay, these days they need the business.

Anonymous said...

Hey potential buyers...

Boston.com ranks Amherst Number Two in their "Dreamtown Finder: Top 25 Places to Live in Massachusetts". They cite the "strong schools".

(Don't tell Walter.)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

My sources say he is exiting this market and all his properties will be for sale over time.

--The Scoop

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah that's my theory as well, but I hate to use Anons for corroboration.

Walter Graff said...

They also cite "decent housing costs". Shows how poorly researched this article was. Sad state of journalism in today's world where Amherst schools rank in the middle to bottom half compared to the state and that is listed as "strong". Guess they haven't seen how many parents choose to move to other communities where schools truly do perform well for the money spent per student. Luckily Amherst still has some wonderfully talented teachers who balance out an ass-backwards administration.

Anonymous said...

speaking of our strong schools, I heard that one of our district's school administrators just recently moved their kids out of the Amherst schools.... following the trend of so many others before them. How many of the central office administration and principals do have kids in the district these days? .. and how many of the school committee members?

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous, I could buy a house 5 times as big as the one I live in now in Amherst for the same price, with really low property tax bills...in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Elementary: Two elementary principals have kids too old for the public schools; one of those two had his kid go through the public schools, that kid is doing bit parts on major sitcoms right now. The other is not from Amherst. One elementary school principal has his kids in the Amherst schools. One elementary school principal has kids too young for the schools.

Middle: Don't know but I don't think they have kids that are eligible.

H.S. Principal's kid going to ARHS as a freshman; others I believe do not have eligible kids. South E. St principal, both kids in Amherst schools.

Central: Supt., teacher assessment guy (Morris), one other have their kids in the schools.

As a matter of fact, I'm not sure that as of next year any admin will have kids going out of district.

SC: all the members who are Amherst residents with eligible kids send their kids to ARPS's.

What's your point.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and everyone knows how great those Mississippi schools are!

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:22 pm --
By your description, I count 5 elementary principals in the Amherst schools (2 with kids too old for the schools; 1 with kids in the schools, 1 with kids too young; 1 living out of district).

is that right?

Anonymous said...

I'm going off the top of my head, I think that there are 4 Elementary principals, one with kids eligible, they go to ARPS's.

Wildwood: his kid went through ARPS.

Crocker: One has kids in ARPS, one kids too young.

Fort River: I think she lives in Sprfld., don't know kids/ages, don't think they are eligible or go here.

Anonymous said...

I believe the woman taking over at the helm of crocker next year does not have age eligible kids.

But, again, what's the point? Sounds like an old, worn out Team Sanderson line...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any comparative data that compares the declining enrollment in the Amherst Regional Public Schools to comparable towns in the Commonwealth? (Newton, whatever those other towns are.)

Looking to buy a home in Amherst and send your kids to the public schools here? Class sizes are ideal.

Anonymous said...

supt. geryk answered the question about parents sending their kids to other schools a couple of years ago in an interview with josh wolfson that was broadcast on ACTV.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is what are the administrators doing that is "ass backwards?" Walter, can you enlighten us?

Also, I believe the Fort River principal, though she lives in Springfield, sends her kids to Amherst schools.

Anonymous said...

Again, to potential home buyers with kids looking at Amherst:

Please note: Last month Larry Kelley posted an article about our superintendent getting a six year contract extension. (read: stability) About 80,000 readers visited Larry's blog during this article's run. "walt graff" is the only blogger (that we can verify) that has criticized this decision by the School Committee. Notice there is no chorus behind him. He, singly, is obsessed with her and with criticizing the job she is doing. he is a man who Superintendent Geryk says she has never met; he does not live in Amherst; he is an outspoken, name-calling, aggressive critic of most things that happen in Amherst (take a look back at articles over the last 4-6 months and look for walter's posts.)

There are about 36,000 residents in Amherst and we've heard only support for the School Committee's decision and for the job Superintendent Geryk and the Central administration in general is doing.

We hope he stops with his frequent, aggressive posts about people who work for the Amherst Schools and in Amherst town government, as well about many small businesses, our large college student population, our street design... i could go on and on. But bottom line: the guy's a joker, so seek the opinions of people who live, work and send their kids to school in this town. You will find most of us very accessible.

Also, re students' performance on standardized tests:

There are 20+ languages spoken in our high school and a relatively very high number of our students speak English as a second language. While the schools have failed to adequately serve these students in the past in Amherst, many programs, positions and initiatives have been put in place very recently to provide that population with the education they require.

Anonymous said...

According to district budget documents on the ARPS web site, for next school year, the district is projecting a K-6 enrollment of 1,092 students, and 29 Amherst residents choicing out to other districts, 57 going to charter schools, and 5 out-of-district placements. For the MS/HS combined, the district is projecting an enrollment of 1,497 students, and 20 students choicing out, 71 going to charter schools, 37 going to voc tech schools, and 23 out-of-district placements.

According to #'s the district provided for town meeting last year, 112 K-6 students from district's region attend private schools, as do 174 MS & HS students. The private school numbers provided seemed a bit low since there are some schools that Amherst students go to that weren't listed and since some of the reported figures were questionable, such as the zero enrollment listed for Deerfield Academy. With the district's numbers above and not including any other private school students, or homeschooled/unenrolled students, the % of our school district's student-age population attending schools (private, charter, choice, other) outside the district is 15% for K-6, and 17% for MS/HS combined.

It would be interesting to know these %'s for our comparative districts, and how they've been changing. These %'s for the Amherst schools have been going up.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 4:33 pm

"I believe the Fort River principal, though she lives in Springfield, sends her kids to Amherst schools"

I was told that she took her kids out of the Amherst schools a few weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Not a lot of families in Bondsville or Athol opt out of the public schools, maybe walt should send his kids there. Because they must be incredible.

Anonymous said...

Have there ever been so many choices around where you can send your kid to school?

It makes sense that the more affluent a community there is, the more send their kids to private schools. That's been true for hundreds of years. Has Amherst become more affluent in the last 10 years or so?

And I'm certain there were no choices available like performing arts charter schools and so many other charter schools, alternatives like North Star, etc...

My point being, families are being given many more choices than they were ten--certainly twenty--years ago, and they are taking them; it's no surprise that many find what works for their kids within all of the choices here in the valley.

Of course we are going to see changing enrollments, because there are so mnay more choices available, and that's a good thing for everybody!

Anonymous said...

It's great for students and families how many educational choices/school options they have. It is less great though for the Amherst schools and Amherst taxpayers as a whole. The school district pays the for choice and charter students, and for example, for next year, the net charter school assessments K-12 are projected to be $1.6 million. The district also gets less money from the state when there are lower enrollments. The district's costs continue to rise as enrollments fall, and Amherst taxpayers are paying more and more each year for the schools. School budget issues certainly aren't unique to Amherst, but having more students opt out of the Amherst schools makes the problem here worse.

Anonymous said...

while I appreciate your tone and tenor, that is an incredibly narrow and myopic perspective on how we fund the next generation's education.

some seem to want to see instantaneous results, that they can measure in their own lives, from their individual tax contributions, and that's simply not how it works.

Anonymous said...

how we fund the next generation's education?

I am concerned with how we'll fund this generation's? The average property tax bill in Amherst continues to grow and for FY2013 topped $6,500 per year (or approx. $550 per month) and the more students that opt out of the Amherst schools, the more it will cost Amherst taxpayers. I wish the system worked differently -- that property taxes weren't such an important source for funding school expenses, and that the charter and school choice mechanisms for funding were more equitable -- but that's not the way it works right now (and yes, reform is needed.) People who are concerned by students opting out of the district do care about the big picture each child having educational opportunities appropriate for them, but the month-to-month and year-to-year costs and the rising expenses related to living in Amherst and to our schools(growing property taxes and growing rental housing costs) concern people as well.

Anonymous said...

This generation, next generation... Yes, that is a concern. Let's start cutting until we get down to the per pupil costs in Palmer, then we'll all be happy and our pockets will be a couple of hundred dollars fuller.

Anonymous said...

The amount more that we spend per resident on education via property taes in Amherst compared to a place like Palmer is equal to a day at Six Flags per year. Or eating out at Bertucci's approximately 4 times. Tighten your belt, anon.