In the same week that we learned of the impending demolition of Halcyon Hall at Bennett College in Millbrook, we received much more encouraging news concerning the Hudson River State Hospital property in Poughkeepsie. On Wednesday evening, developers addressing the Poughkeepsie town board gave the public the first glimpse of what the future could hold, including the news that the historic Administration Building and several other structures on the 156-acre parcel will be spared.
Speaking for the developers was Nicholas Minoia of Diversified Realty. Minoia described the firm’s plans to create a residential and commercial development on the grounds, encompassing various housing types and retail spaces. He stated that his intention was to provide the board with the status of the development known as “Hudson Heritage.” He pointed out that he was not seeking approval or presenting final plans but rather was “unveiling for the first time publicly, a concept plan” for the development.
Minoia spoke of the problems and costs associated with cleaning up the environmental hazards on the property and stated his organization was working with EFG, a firm that specializes in Brownfield clean-up and redevelopment. He described the development team’s vision of creating a property that would work well in the community and reflect the tastes of the marketplace. He described plans to maintain a significant amount of green space, preserving the parklike atmosphere that Hudson River State Hospital enjoyed. He described the need for significant demolition on the property, citing specifically the southern area that includes the Rec Building, Ryon Hall and the Cheney Building. He stated that the cost for demolition would be in the area of $10-$15 million dollars.
He went on to state that current plans call for the rehabilitation of the “center part of the Admin Building,” leaving it for “some type of restoration,” including potential hotel, community or office space. He stated the team has been looking at how others have handled work of this nature (We recommend he look at Avalon Danvers). Encouragingly, he also stated that plans call for saving three other buildings that he described as the “church, the library and the … entertainment building.” He suggested that these structures can be repurposed as amenities for tenants of the community.
We are delighted that the representatives of this development addressed the town of Poughkeepsie in such a forthright manner. And we are similarly delighted that the developers have some appreciation for the historic and architectural value of the irreplaceable Kirkbride Administration building. We hope developers continue to keep the public informed of their plans and ultimately allow us the privilege of photographing and documenting the buildings before demolition and/or rehabilitation takes place.
Watch the video here.