GLOVERSVILLE - Former kickboxer Vic Trippodo wants to turn a former box making facility into an amateur boxing and MMA arena, but first he's intent on duking it out with the city over code violations.
Trippodo said he acquired the Quinn's Paper Boxes building, 93 S. Main St., after it sold at a tax foreclosure auction for approximately $5,000 on June 19, 2013.
Shortly after acquiring the building, on Aug. 31, 2013, court documents show Trippodo received his first citation from the city fire department for failure to maintain the roof of one of the buildings. On June 7, he received two additional citations, for failure to maintain the fire protection system and failure to secure a vacant building.
Vic Trippodo, left, owner of Fighters and Fitness of Gloversville works with boxer Brian “The Brick” Abraham of Schenectady at the former Quinn’s Paper Boxes building in Gloversville on Thursday.
Photo by Bill Trojan/The Leader-Herald
Tripoddo said he's received the same citations from the city every three weeks, and so far he's refused to pay the fines or fix the building
"I keep telling the judge, I'm not going to fix the building because if I do I'll be forced to work backwards and take it apart to re-do-it the way the gym is going to be," he said. "The back roof and second story collapsed, [but they] aren't needed because I'm looking to put a big huge three-quarter inch sky-dome plexiglass there, so the fighters can actually look up and see the sky, or if they tell me I can't have the boxing arena there, I'm just going to have the three-level fitness arena, but that back building is going to get turned down and turned into a parking lot, so there won't be a roof there either way, but I need them to tell me which is going to happen before I go spending the money and they tell me to do the other."
He said he can't fix the building;s sprinkler system until he can have water service restored to the building.
"For water, I need a certificate of occupancy, which I can't get until I have a business named and I have the renovations done and signed off by the code enforcement," he said.
The fitness center and boxing arena project will require a zoning variance that he must receive from the city zoning board, which meets Wednesday, but Trippodo's trial with the city over the citations is scheduled for Tuesday. He said he wants the matter adjourned until he knows whether he will have approval to go forward with his plan.
"I'm not going to eat [these fines] and move forward, if they are going to fine me for this - I will move my location someplace else. I'm not going to pay thousands of dollars in fines and then pay thousands of dollars to renovate this building which could bring all this money to this area," he said.
Trippodo's case represents a dilemma many small cities like Gloversville face, whether to diligently pursue city code violations against derelict buildings when imposing fines could scare off redevelopment of those buildings.
City Attorney Anthony Casale said he would not comment on the specifics of the city's case against Trippodo, but said he saw no reason to postpone the trial.
"The judge saw no reason to postpone it either," Casale said.
Mayor Dayton King said he's talked with Trippodo about his idea.
"I'd like to see, obviously, more business, especially downtown, but I also respect the court's decision to enforce the codes," he said.
Trippodo said he believes it's unfair that he's being held responsible for the condition the building was in before he acquired it after the tax auction. He said if he receives approval for his project he can rehabilitate the building himself for about $90,000 using his skills as a contractor.
"I'm looking to turn Quinn's Paper Boxes into a three-level fitness center with the back part of it into a boxing/MMA arena where we can actually host fights and bring different fighters and thousands of people with money in from all over the country," he said. "I own the building free and clear and all the city is doing is trying to throw roadblocks out in front of me."
Another potential problem with Trippodo's plan is where exactly the thousands of spectators he expects to attend his boxing matches would park.
"Gloversville in it's heyday, when it had its leather mills and there were 150 stores downtown, everybody found a place to park," Trippodo said. "I don't have any parking, but that building, when Quinn's Boxes was operational, had 75 employees, and they always found a place to park."
Bob Miller, president of the Adirondack Association of USA Boxing, said he'd like to promote about six amateur boxing events in Gloversville per year, if Trippodo is able to build his boxing venue.
"I'm certainly interested in running amateur shows there," he said. "His project sounds like something I would love to do if I was 25. When I started out, it was in an old apartment, and we'd box around a pillar. He's got a three-story warehouse. That would be incredible to start something in that. I told him, as soon as he gets things straightened out, we'll go after it and set up a date for him."