Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rat Island sold for $160k

Here is a story from this week's Bronx Press on the Rat Island auction. Enjoy!

By Amanda Macaluso

And the proud new owner of Rat Island is now City Island resident Alex Schibli.

Sunday, Oct. 2, the retired Port Authority worker placed the highest bid at an auction for the little east Bronx island at $160,000, a huge steal for the land originally valued by the city for $426,000.

Previous owner Edmund Brennen owned the 2.5-acre island since the 1970s, when he bought it for $5,000, and has used it to store equipment and salvage barges. Rat Island went up for sale in 2009 but after two years of no real offers, Brennen decided to just put it up on the auction block. Before being put up on the auction block, Brennen actually posted flyers around City Island advertising the sale of the island where he was asking for $300,000.

Brennen is currently retired and living in Florida.

Jump below for the full story, including what Schibli wants to rename the island.

The island overlooks New Rochelle, Orchard Beach and Long Island and was barely being used, especially since a majority of the land is underwater after any rainstorm. The island used to be a holding place for typhoid victims in the 1800s and was once nicknamed the “Pelham Pesthouse.”

So last week, the 71-year-old City Island man outbid seven other hopeful buyers to win the island that he says he can “swim back and forth to from his backyard.” Schibli has been maintaining the island for years, but now he can properly claim the piece of land as his own. Schibil told a NY Post reporter, “I can see it from my window. My wife and I kayak around it all the time. I feel like it has always belonged to me. It’s so lovely out here. You wouldn’t even believe you were in New York.”

As for what Schibli is going to do with the island, he is simply just going to keep it as is and conserve it. However, a name change for the island may be in store for the near future. “There aren’t even any rats” he joked with reporters after the auction. Rat Island was originally named for the ‘rats’ or escaped convicts that used to swim to the island for refuge. Schibli may be renamed ‘Malina Island,’ after Schibli’s 4-year-old granddaughter.

Other bidders had wanted to rename the island as well, and most had no plans to build anything permanent on the island. Con Ed said the new owner would probably have to pay them to build the infrastructure to bring electricity to the island and would have recommended renewable energy sources such as wind or solar.

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