HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Newtown has taken possession of the Colonial-style home where school shooter Adam Lanza lived with his mother in a deal with a bank that prepared the house by removing and incinerating all personal effects.
The Newtown Legislative Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to accept the house at no cost. The appraised value of the 3,162-square-foot home was $523,620.
Llodra told The News-Times that the process of acquiring the property began about six months ago with a call from a real estate agent hired by Hudson City Savings Bank.
Details of the negotiations and terms of the transfer were not available, but she said the bank demonstrated an extreme degree of "compassion and generosity."
Llodra told the council that the acquisition began with a call from a real estate agent who specializes in properties linked to tragic events. She said he was hired by the bank to help negotiate a possible acquisition.
She met with bank officials before presenting the offer for a closed-door discussion with the Board of Selectmen last month.
Adam Lanza's parents, Nancy and Peter Lanza, moved from southern New Hampshire and bought the new house in 1998.
Bill LaCalamito, senior vice president at Hudson City Savings Bank, said Thursday that by deeding the house to Newtown, it was trying to help the community just as others donated money, time and labor immediately after the massacre.
"We wanted to do what was right for the community," he said. "We told the town, 'You've been through enough. Tell us what you want us to do."
Because of its notoriety, the house had little or no value. "Obviously no one wanted the property," LaCalamito said.
LaCalamito would not disclose the cost to the bank for the remaining mortgage and work done on the house. For example, the bank had the house stripped of rugs, furniture, lighting fixtures and other effects and incinerated the belongings, he said. The bank also paid for new locks, repaired or replaced doors that were "compromised" by police who entered the house in the immediate aftermath of the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings, installed a security system and hired a landscaper to maintain the property.
Randall Bell, founder of Real Estate Damage Economics, a Laguna Beach, California, company that specializes in property damage, said he proposed nine or 10 choices to the bank on what it could do with the Lanza house. Among the options were selling it in foreclosure, selling it conventionally or bulldozing it.
"The agenda was very simple: Lay out all the options," he said. "The bank was very concerned about being very sensitive to the town. My job was not to steer them in any particular direction."
The future use of the house and property will be decided later. Several residents said the home should be demolished and the property restored to woodlands. One resident said putting the house on the market might have drawn the merely curious and even conspiracy theorists.
Real estate experts say properties known for crimes or violence are usually tough to sell and state law requires disclosure of homicides and similar events.
The 20-year-old Lanza fatally shot his mother at the house before killing 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. He killed himself at the school as emergency responders approached the school.
Stephen Singer can reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SteveSinger10