Joe Malinconico Paterson Press

PATERSON — A New York-based real estate group with a partner from the Paterson area made the winning $5.5 million bid to buy the former Passaic County administration building on Pennsylvania Avenue, officials said.

The buyer, Agime Group LLC, is looking to build a mixed-use project including apartments and retail space at the site, next to the thriving Farmers Market in South Paterson.

“We’re very excited to be developing in Paterson,” said Agime vice president Ermin Agirnasli. “We love the city.”

This would be Agime’s first Paterson development, Agirnasli said. But the firm is working on the Pennsylvania Avenue plans with Abdul Hamdan, a local attorney and real estate investor who has been involved in several projects in the South Paterson area, including the new five-story building at the corner of Main Street and Buffalo Avenue.

County officials said they were pleased with the $5.5 million bid for a building that has stood virtually vacant in recent years. Fourteen people posted bids on the property in the online public auction that went from Tuesday morning through Thursday afternoon.

Now that Agime has been named the high bidder, the company and the county next must go through the real estate closing process.

Mayor Andre Sayegh said he was glad that what had been a tax-empty property while owned by the county would begin generating tax revenue for the city coffers. Sayegh said he planned to meet with the buyer next week. The mayor said Hamdan has been part of what he called the renaissance of South Paterson.

“He’s played a pivotal role in that becoming a vibrant community,” Sayegh said.

Councilman Al Abdelaziz, who represents the 6th Ward where the Pennsylvania Avenue building is located, said the structure has become “an eyesore,” adding that he looked forward to the new project at the site. Abdelaziz noted that Hamdan graduated from Paterson’s Eastside High School.

“He knows and understands the area,” the councilman said of the developer.

State campaign finance records show Hamdan has donated a total of $1,500 to Sayegh in 2018 and 2019, $1,000 to Abdelaziz n 2018 and $600 to Jose “Joey” Torres in 2014.

Hamdan said he was looking forward to working on the Pennsylvania Avenue project. “We emphasize good quality apartments,” he said. “We’re going to work with the city and the mayor to do something that will benefit Paterson.”

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