Real Estate

Lyon Mountain prison sold


---- — DANNEMORA — A Canadian businessman from Ste. Marthe sur de Lac, Quebec, bought the former Lyon Mountain State Prison for $140,000 at auction Wednesday.

New York State Office of General Services Public Information Officer Heather Groll said Gilbert Rybicki was the lone bidder during the auction, held at Dannemora Town Hall.


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She said Rybicki didn’t disclose his plans for the site, but she believes the property will go back on the tax rolls.

“We anticipate closing in a few months,” Groll said of the sale.

The buyer has 120 days to complete the deal.

Groll said it was good news to sell another piece of surplus state property. The purchase price was the minimum set for the auction.

Dannemora Town Supervisor Americo “Ves” Pivetta said he was happy the property has finally been sold and will be back on the tax rolls. He said he spoke with the buyer briefly but was also unaware of Rybicki’s plans going forward.

“I’m hoping in the future something will happen with those buildings,” Pivetta said. “I’m really surprised there was only one bidder.”


The former minimum-security prison, which was once Lyon Mountain High School, began operation in 1985. It was closed in January 2011 as part of state cutbacks on prison facilities. 

The 27.3-acre property includes 23 buildings that total 90,676 square feet, as well as several acres of undeveloped land.

The buildings include the dormitory, cafeteria and gymnasium building at 49,201 square feet, the administrative building of 4,624 square feet and the vocational building, which measures 24,747 square feet.

The state removed most of the equipment and furniture, but large freezers and coolers remain in the mess hall.

The buildings are free of asbestos and lead. The heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems are all intact.

The property has its own large boiler and generator. There is a private sewer system on site, which could be connected to the public sewer system.

The property is located within the Adirondack Park and is subject to that agency’s regulations.

Three open houses were held before the auction, the last on June 27.


The North Country Chamber of Commerce has been involved with the Lyon Mountain Transition Council since the property went on the market. Chamber President Garry Douglas said Quebec is once more the source of investment in the North Country.

“We and Empire State Development hope to sit down with Mr. Rybicki in the near future to further discuss his ideas for the property and to offer all possible assistance,” he said by email.

“Our team is especially experienced at helping Quebec-based businesses and investors, and we will make certain he is aware of the various forms of help we can provide.”

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