Saratoga County

DEC: Victory site is contaminated, but not a general health threat

ERICA MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Victory Mills, a historic textile mill in the village of Victory, must be cleaned of pollutants before it can be redeveloped into apartments.

ERICA MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Victory Mills, a historic textile mill in the village of Victory, must be cleaned of pollutants before it can be redeveloped into apartments.

Categories: Business, News, Saratoga County

VICTORY — Industrial contamination at the historic former Victory Mills industrial site in the village isn’t a significant threat to public health, but nevertheless will require removal of contaminated soil, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has determined.

The DEC this week released a draft brownfield cleanup plan for the site, which a developer is proposing to turn into apartments with an on-site microbrewery. The cleanup has to happen first.

The old mill on Gates Avenue, which was used for various industrial purposes for more than 150 years, is the dominant feature of the village, just south of Schuylerville. The site was known to have soil and groundwater contamination, but the full extent has only now been determined.

The draft cleanup plan released for public comment this week says grossly contaminated soil will be excavated and removed from the site, while less-contaminated soil can be excavated and buried on-site with two feet of clean cover. Hard surfaces like asphalt, building and concrete could also provide cover. Ongoing monitoring will be required.

Regan Development of Ardsley, Westchester County, plans to spend an estimated $60 million to clean up the site and renovate the building and turn it into 186 apartments with a micro-brewery. Regan has applied to DEC for brownfield cleanup tax credits, assuming DEC approves the plan.

Regan Development’s plans previously won the backing of village and town officials and received a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes approval from the Saratoga County Industrial Agency — but all are contingent on the environmental cleanup.

The 230,000-square-foot, five-story mill was in use from 1846 to 2000, and at times was a major employer, but it is currently in dilapidated condition with the building identified as having asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paint and mold growth.

A report prepared by a brownfield cleanup consultant hired by Regan Development found areas where the soil was contaminated with various metals as well as volatile organic compounds, but found that nearly all the contamination was in the top two feet of soil, according to a report filed with the DEC.

This isn’t the first effort to redevelop the property, but the Regan plan appears to be moving forward more than a previous effort that stalled for lack of financing.

Long Island developer Uri Kaufman bought the property out of tax foreclosure in 2008 with a vision of converting it into 98 upscale apartments, but was unable to secure financing. The plan languished and the mill deteriorated to the point that the village sued him in early 2018, seeking to force demolition. Kaufman agreed to sell to Regan Development later that year

The state brownfields program allows developers to get tax credits for cleanup work if it is part of a site redevelopment project. Following a public comment period, DEC will possibly modify the cleanup plan, and then the DEC and the state Department of Health will issue a final decision that will allow the developer to start cleanup work.

Documents on the cleanup project are available at the DEC website and at the Schuylerville Public Library, 52 Ferry St., Schuylerville, N.Y. 12871, which is open to the public with some restrictions.

Public comments can be submitted to site project manager Jared Donaldson at NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7015; via email at [email protected] or by calling 518-402-9625. The comment deadline is Dec. 5.

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