Schenectady County

Stanford Mansion on the move again

The old Stanford Mansion’s second move in just over a year was approved Monday night by the town Pla

The old Stanford Mansion’s second move in just over a year was approved Monday night by the town Planning Board.

Highbridge Development asked the board recently for a modification to its site plan, one that would allow the mansion to be moved to another location on the State Street and Balltown Road site.

The home was already moved once, last year, off its original foundation to a spot closer to State Street.

The plan at that point was to construct new buildings on either side of the nearly 200-year-old home.

The new plan calls for the building to remain freestanding, and be reused as a bank.

“I think it’s a positive change,” Planning Board chairman Kevin Walsh said at Monday night’s meeting. “I think it’s a better location, a better use of the building, does it better justice. I’m personally happy with the change.”

The mansion is now to be moved and rotated, coming to a rest on the Schenectady side of the property, toward the rear.

Berkshire Bank has signed on to occupy it, Highbridge attorney Terresa Bakner told the board.

Berkshire will use the first floor of the building. It has no current plans to use the second floor, but may use it in the future for meeting space.

Drive-through lanes will be attached to the rear of the building.

Earlier proposals had been for the home to be reused as a restaurant. Bakner said the bank idea will require fewer modifications to the inside than a restaurant would have.

Exactly when the mansion would be moved again was unclear. But it is to be moved by the same company that moved it last time, Pennsylvania-based Wolfe House and Building Movers, Highbridge president John Roth told the board.

Bakner said: “We have no doubt that the building can safely be moved again. The same methods used the first time will be used a second time.”

The first move was estimated to have cost Highbridge $250,000. A figure for the second move wasn’t discussed Monday night.

Only two members of the public commented on the plan, a contrast to previous meetings. The site has seen years of legal wrangling as those opposed to the larger project sought to preserve the mansion on its original foundation.

The last legal battle ended in 2010, with an appeals court refusing to block the move.

On Monday, resident Lorrene Zabin asked a number of questions, including questions about location and use.

She also questioned, with this being the second time the home will be moved, how many times it would be moved.

She concluded that, with her questions answered, the new plan “probably is the best use, to have it standing by itself and show its beauty.”

Resident Leslie Gold also asked whether it could be done safely. Bakner said it could. As for the number of moves, she said: “I think I can safely say that the applicant hopes that this is the last time he’ll ever need to move the house.”

Approvals for the overall project were originally given in 2007, but a legal challenge and economic issues delayed the project. The site was cleared of most trees in spring 2009, and an 80-year-old addition built for the Ingersoll nursing home, the previous occupant of the mansion, was torn down in June 2009.

Built in the early 19th century, the mansion housed three town supervisors. It later became the home of both the Schuyler and Stanford families, including Leland Stanford, who went on to found Stanford University in California in 1876. It also served many years as the Ingersoll residence for seniors.

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