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State May Hold "Direct Discussions" With Developers For Mount McGregor Property

New York State Office of General Services

New York state’s economic development arm announced last week that it had rejected proposals to redevelop a former prison in Saratoga County.

The facility atop Mount McGregor in the Saratoga County towns of Wilton and Moreau has served several purposes over the years. Originally home to a mountaintop resort in the late 19th Century, the site was then used as a tuberculosis sanatorium. By the 1970s Mount McGregor was a prison, which finally closed in 2014.

Empire State Development pulled the plug on its second Request for Proposals last week. The state deemed pitches it received as “unfeasible.”

The office says it may have “direct discussions with potential developers.”

Adam Ostrowski is a spokesman for Empire State Development.

“Empire State Development remains committed to finding an adaptive reuse for the former Mount McGregor Correctional Facility that will create jobs and promote economic development in the region, and we are continuing our marketing efforts for this property.”

The aging site has sat empty for years.

Rene LeRoux is Executive Director of the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame. He toured the site last spring and had expressed interest in the location for a state hall of fame and potential youth baseball and softball tournaments, but ultimately chose not to submit a proposal.

“They have issues with toxic waste and perhaps asbestos and things like that. And it’s incumbent upon them to clean that up. It’s not incumbent on a developer or a buyer to buy a car with no engine in it,” said LeRoux.

Wilton town supervisor Art Johnson was disappointed by the news that a project had not been selected.

“I know there are challenges there but you would think somebody out there would be able to, some type of project would be able to utilize the site,” said Johnson.

Johnson hopes a project can be brought to the site to replace the jobs that were lost when the prison was closed. The prison had employed around 300 workers even as the number of inmates dwindled.

“I mean, it’s important to get that redeveloped. And the longer it sits there, the more difficult it is going to be finding a developer that is interested,” said Johnson.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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