Easton's "armory" building appears to have a new owner.
But that may not be enough to save it from being designated a blighted property by the city.
Easton's Vacant Property Review Committee declared the armory -- and five other buildings -- blighted last year. Tonight, the city is expected to continue that process, which could end with Easton's Redevelopment Authority taking over the properties in question.
A liquor license sign appeared in the armory window recently, announcing that Peter G. Koorie, owner of the city's Beer Brothers beer distributor, was seeking a liquor license for the property.
Jacob Estephan, whose family had owned the armory since the 1980s, said last week that Koorie had bought the building, as well as Northampton Glass down the street.
"I'm glad," Estephan said, that Koorie bought the property, "rather than have someone come in that we don't know. At least I know the building is going to be taken care of."
The Estephans used the armory for storage for their other business, Jacob's Produce, which is just across the street. Koorie will do the same, Estephan said.
Koorie did not respond to a series of interview requests made by Easton Patch.
Becky Bradley, the city's planning director, said Tuesday night her department would be "happy to work with anyone" on the property, but added that the city has recieved no land development plan or zoning filings connected to a change of ownership at the armory.
The first round of "blighted" designations -- as well as the city's very public crackdown on vacant properties last summer -- has prompted other property owners to either sell, or become more compliant, Bradley told city council's planning committee Tuesday night.
"It's not perfect yet, but we are making headway," she said.
There are still problem areas, Bradley added, including one case -- the apartments at 503 and 505 Northampton Street -- that will likely require the city to go to court to get a warrant to inspect the property.
"The issue goes way beyond the physical appearance of the building," Mayor Sal Panto said. "It goes to the safety of the residents."
Bradley said the owners have recently begun scheduling appointments for inspections, only to cancel them at the last minute.