A piece of Saratoga Springs history — even if it is a much-derided piece of that illustrious history — is being torn down on Union Avenue.
The former Skidmore College high-rise dormitory known with various levels of affection for nearly 60 years as the “Pink Palace” is being demolished to make way for a new condominium project.
Jackson Demolition of Schenectady last week began the demolition work, which is expected to take about four more weeks.
Immediately afterward, excavation work will start for the great-house style condominiums that will take the dorm’s place, said developer Sonny Bonacio.
“It will be 12 to 15 months for total construction,” Bonacio said.
The dorm, formally known as Moore Hall, became known to students and the community at large as the “Pink Palace” because the composite material that covered its exterior was an odd shade of pink.
A few of the pink composite panels that make up the abandoned building’s exterior are being saved and may be worked into the final project.
“We’re saving some of the actual pink panels,” Bonacio said. “We don’t know how they will be worked into final project. It’s really the only thing of interest on building.”
The dorm opened in 1957, when Skidmore’s campus was still on Union Avenue, halfway between downtown and Saratoga Race Course. It was the last major building the college built before the decision to relocate the entire college campus to a new location on North Broadway.
Moore Hall remained student housing until 2006, when the college sold the property to Norstar Development, which planned to demolish it and build condos.
That project never came to fruition, and the building sat empty and deteriorating. Bonacio late last year came up with a plan to convert it into workforce housing with 53 apartments.
Bonacio, the most prominent builder in the city, came up with the new condo plan this spring after neighbors objected to the apartment plans.
There will be 26 condo units built in several buildings on the 1.3-acre site. Plans call for one-, two- and three-bedroom condos that would range in size from about 1,000 square feet to 2,000 square feet. Listing prices would be about $700,000 to $800,000.
Bonacio said there really is no identifiable target market for the condos, which will be within walking distance of downtown.
“We’ve been doing this for 15 years, and you get a retired teacher, a lot of people who are in the area and who downsize and sell their houses but want to stay in the area,” he said Tuesday. “The majority who are buying with us are within 45 minutes of Saratoga Springs.”
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.