The Chalmers Knitting Mill complex that’s loomed over Amsterdam’s south side for more than 93 years is now listed on New York state’s Register of Historic Places.
And despite efforts to preserve it, the concrete block and brick plant on the Mohawk River will be reduced to a pile of rubble this spring.
The buildings that make up the complex earned a listing as historically significant because they represent the last major knitting mill to be built in the city, according to the nomination form prepared by the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Montgomery County’s Planning Department board was notified in a Jan. 11 letter that the state listed the complex and is nominating it for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The complex, considered by the state to be one of the “foremost components of the industrial heritage of Amsterdam,” is described in the nomination form as a “rare surviving example of early 20th century industrial construction.”
The buildings were the subject of a proposal from Long Island developer Uri Kaufman, who sought to create luxury apartments there.
Over the past several years, some city officials supported redevelopment while others wanted the complex torn down, and demolition won out.
“It looks like it’s going to be torn down. The Common Council has made a decision it does not want it to be developed,” Kaufman said.
“With that in mind, unfortunately, our plans came to a grinding halt,” he said.
Kaufman said he’s not surprised the buildings met the criteria for historic listing.
“I think it’s extremely historic; it’s a big part of the city’s heritage,” he said.
City Mayor Ann Thane was not available for comment on Friday.
Newly-elected 2nd Ward Councilwoman Julie Pierce on Friday said that she believes efforts to preserve the building have run their course, but she said she is optimistic about the parcel’s future.
“They looked at options for it; the options didn’t work out,” said Pierce, who said the buildings aren’t very sound structurally.
“I do think the land Chalmers is on is good land. I think once we demolish it, that could make for something very nice for the city. It’s a beautiful waterfront down in that area,” she said.
City Corporation Council Gerard DeCusatis said grant funding has been in place for years to tear down the structures, but demolition was on hold as discussion over redevelopment ensued.
The city’s consulting firm, Saratoga Associates, expects to be hiring a contractor in March, and demolition should start in April, consultant Daniel Shearer said.
Shearer said the state requires that a variety of steps take place prior to demolition, including a full photographic recording of what’s there.
Montgomery County Historian Kelly Faquhar on Friday said she was not completely familiar with the building’s condition but said the city has to do what is in the best interest of the city.
“It’s always sad to lose a piece of our history,” Farquhar said.