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State rejects proposals for Mount McGregor redevelopment

State rejects proposals for Mount McGregor redevelopment

Empire State Development will switch tactics with former prison
State rejects proposals for Mount McGregor redevelopment
The former Mount McGregor prison in Wilton as seen in August 2014.
Photographer: Daily Gazette file photo

WILTON — The state is shifting strategies in its effort to sell the former Mount McGregor prison, after a request for proposals again yielded no redevelopment plans it considers viable.

Three proposals were received by the May 31 deadline set by Empire State Development. ESD announced Monday that it deemed all three to be “unfeasible” and had canceled the request for proposals as of Thursday.

ESD will now use a direct marketing approach, possibly including direct discussions with potential developers. ESD said its staff will lead the direct marketing effort but will retain outside consultants if necessary.

The request for proposals that ended May 31 was actually the second such effort to offload the sprawling facility on the Moreau-Wilton border — an earlier round ended in the same fashion in 2015, with no viable plans submitted.

ESD would not disclose any information about the three proposals submitted in the latest round, saying that doing so could jeopardize future efforts to market the site.

Two area economic development agencies — the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership and Saratoga Economic Development Corporation — have been working to build interest in the site among potential developers. Officials from both were not available for comment Monday, but they have commented in the past on the great potential of the former correctional facility, and on the significant challenges to would-be developers.

Before it was a prison, the site was a tuberculosis sanitarium, a veterans' rest home and a residence for the developmentally disabled. (It originally was a resort, with direct rail service to Saratoga Springs.)

It now comprises dozens of buildings totaling 550,000 square feet on 325 acres, in an eclectic mix of styles and functions ranging from 28 to 57,356 square feet and from 10 to 104 years old. The buildings would have an equally wide range of possibilities and problems. The new owner would have to bring the buildings up to code and clean up any asbestos or other contamination.

ESD had offered up to $8 million in assistance with redevelopment.

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