PROVIDENCE -- Saratoga County is trying to sell its former infirmary building in Providence through an online auction.
The county has set no minimum bid for the massive but crumbling tuberculosis sanitarium on a remote hillside off Barkersville Road, which has been abandoned for decades, and has already undergone an extensive federal-supervised asbestos cleanup.
The auction, conducted by Auctions International, will last through noon on Wednesday, Aug. 28. As of Tuesday, the highest bid submitted was just over $30,000.
The property includes a massive two-story, 47,000-square-foot building that resembles a historic hospital and some out buildings on 28.61 acres, according to the auction listing.
Vacated by the county in 1979, when a new home for the aged and infirm was build in Ballston Spa, the property was owned for a time by a private owner who planned to develop a drug treatment center there, but those plans never came to fruition. In 2014, the county re-acquired it due to unpaid back taxes, and has since spent time assessing the environmental issues and ways to deal with a sale.
Over the decades, most of the building's windows have been broken, and it's been the site of numerous break-ins by teenagers and others who have heard tales of a "haunted hospital."
The infirmary opened in 1913 as a county-operated tuberculosis sanitarium. At that time it was believed fresh air in the mountains helped cure the lung disease. The development of antibiotics eventually eliminated the need for sanitariums. From 1960 to 1979 the facility was Saratoga County's home for the aged and infirm who had nowhere else to go.
The asbestos in the building was removed in 2016 under the supervision of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, with the understanding that a buyer would not be responsible for the $1.6 million cost. However, EPA will share in the proceeds if the property is sold.
"With issues of safety and liability now in the past, the county looks ahead to an auction that has potential to provide great benefit to the Providence community and the county as a whole, as an abandoned property and parcel of land can be brought back to life," the county said in announcing the auction.
"There have always been great aspirations for this site," said county Board of Supervisors' Chairman Kevin Tollisen, R-Halfmoon. "The hurdles of the past have just made it difficult to put them into play. Thanks to the cooperation between the county the EPA, we can now look to the future."
Details on bidding are available at: https://www.