Real Estate

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Paul McDonald shows Len Gokey of Chateaugay Lake parts of the workshop at the Lyon Mountain prison that will be up for auction in July. (STAFF PHOTO/KELLI CATANA)
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Paul McDonald (left) of the New York State Office of General Services Bureau of Land Management and Claude Schneider of the New York State Department of Corrections give tours of the Lyon Mountain prison's mess hall during an open house Thursday. (STAFF PHOTO/KELLI CATANA)

Former prison to be sold at auction

Lyon Mountain Facility will be put up for sale on July 10

By: JOE LoTEMPLIO Press-Republican

LYON MOUNTAIN — The former Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility will go to the highest bidder next month in a public auction.

It could be a steal.

“The price is certainly right,” potential bidder Len Gokey said Thursday during a tour of the facility. “But I’m not sure what you could do with it.”

The property will be up for auction on Wednesday, July 10, with a minimum bid of $140,000.


The site features 23 buildings, totaling about 91,000 square feet, on 27 acres of land in the hamlet of Lyon Mountain in the Town of Dannemora on Route 374.

The prison, which used to be the former Lyon Mountain High School, was closed in January 2011 as part of a statewide cutback in prison facilities. It had been operational as a medium-security prison since 1985.

State and local officials welcomed potential buyers at the third and final open house Thursday with the hopes of luring in a buyer.


“It would be great if we can get someone in here to do something with this and get it back on the tax rolls,” said Town Supervisor Americo “Ves” Pivetta, who used to attend school in the main building.

Gokey was one of a handful who have stopped by to check out the site. A former construction-business owner who lives in nearby Chateaugay Lake, he said he could see the property being used for perhaps a senior-citizen community, a depot of some sort, for a business or being broken up into several small-business operations.


The state cleared out the buildings of most equipment and furniture and left it pretty much empty for the sale.

The heat has been turned off, in a cost-savings measure, which has led to peeled paint and musty, damp conditions in most buildings.

The property is free of all asbestos and lead.

The heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems are all intact, as is the plumbing.

Large freezers and coolers are available in the mess hall.

The site has a massive boiler and large generator.

The property has its own private sewer system, which can be connected to the public system, depending on use of the facility.

In the main building, the gymnasium and recreation center appear to be in good shape.

“I could see the town maybe being interested in this (gym) for a rec center or something like that,” Gokey said, speculating that he could subdivide the property if he ever purchased it.


The property is not zoned by the town, but it is within the boundaries of the Adirondack Park and subject to that agency’s regulations.

The auction will be held at 11 a.m. July 10, with registration at 10:30 a.m. in the second-floor meeting room of the Dannemora Town Hall, 1168 Cook St.

By law, no bid lower than $140,000 can be accepted. The property is being sold as one piece and can’t be broken up into separate sales.

The successful bidder must submit payment of 10 percent of the purchase price the day of the auction in the form of a certified check or bank draft.

The remaining payment must be made within 120 days of acceptance of the bid.

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TO LEARN MORE More information on the property and the auction can be found at the New York State Office of General Services Division of Real Estate Development website at