BRIGHTON — The state has abandoned all claims to the former Camp Gabriels site and will sell it Oct. 29 starting at a minimum bid of $90,000.
“We just got a letter from the state this week, saying they were giving up ownership of Camp Gabriels and auctioning it in a month,” said Brighton Town Supervisor Peter Shrope.
This will be the third time the State Office of General Services’ Bureau of Land Management Office has tried to auction the 91-acre site off Route 86.
No bids were received in the previously held sales.
Two open houses will be held to give prospective buyers a chance to look at property, which includes more than 40 buildings, such as dormitories, a chapel, gymnasium, storage facilities, a health clinic and more.
The first open house is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, and the second is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18.
Sealed bids with a $9,000 10 percent deposit will be accepted until 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28. The bid opening is at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29.
‘IT’S A STEAL’
Camp Gabriels, which was named after Bishop Henry Gabriels, opened as a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients in July 1897, then became a geriatric-care facility following World War II, according to the Office of General Services website.
Paul Smith’s College bought the site in 1965 for its Forestry Program before selling the property to the state in 1982 for the minimum-security prison.
The state closed the facility in 2009.
“It’s a steal,” Shrope said of the minimum price. “They want $90,000 for 91 acres.
“The problem is the condition of the buildings,” said the supervisor, who took a tour of the site about two years ago.
With likely asbestos and lead-paint contamination and other environmental hazards in many of the buildings, it will be expensive for the new owner to dispose of and correct, he said.
TOWN USE REJECTED
Shrope said the town could have taken possession of the site for $1 and held a public meeting at the time to determine if that was what residents wanted.
“Overwhelmingly, the people didn’t want one dollar spent on speculation or what we could do to develop Camp Gabriels,” he said.
The town, he added, would have had to use at least 60 percent of the property for municipal purposes to comply with state rules.
That would have meant moving the town business offices and services there.
“We just spent $272,000 to restore our historic Town Hall,” Shrope said. “It’s 100 years old next year, and it’s always been the Town Hall.”
USE CHANGE EXPECTED
Any redevelopment of the Camp Gabriels property would be governed by the Adirondack Park Agency, which has its use classified State Administrative but intends to reclassify it as Moderate Intensity Use.
When the state tried to sell the site in November 2010, the minimum bid was $900,000, and there were no takers.
A second auction in April 2011 with a minimum bid of $750,000 also generated no interest.
Shrope said he thinks Camp Gabriels could sell this time.
“Who knows? For $90,000, I bet somebody buys it.”
Email Denise A. Raymo:firstname.lastname@example.org
TO LEARN MORE
For more information, email Land.email@example.com, call 474-2195 or visit http://properties.esd.ny.gov/default.htm.