A couple of years ago, the past owner of the property applied for a demolition permit to tear down the building to perhaps build some condominiums on the property. A group of concerned Saugerties citizens (including myself) got together to form an organization to try to save the building, which was then rededicated an important historic landmark by the Historic Review Board. And from my understanding this does not totally protect the building but makes it much more difficult to demolish. I would agree that the building is in desperate disrepair, but one piece of false information stated by the letter writer, and I should mention was perpetrated by this paper, is that the building is ‘burned out.’ It is true that there was a fire in the kitchen when it was a restaurant, but the owner at that time did repairs on the roof where the fire was and in so doing stabilized the structure. I know when the Friends of Clovelea group formed we got permission from the former owner to have several engineers examine the structure who deemed that the original building is structurally sound.
Of course the ugly deteriorating additions when observing the property from the street are very unstable — in fact, the front one collapsed awhile ago under the weight of snow on the roof.
The new present owner, from what I understand, has a vision for the property which would restore the mansion as much as possible respecting its historic stature and creating a profitable business endeavor.
This once glorious building, in my mind, is equal to the wonderful Wilderstein Estate in Rhinebeck and could have the same draw as a destination for Saugerties.
I understand tourism is one of the most important economic drivers for Ulster County as well as Saugerties, so this site would be a great addition to ‘places to visit’ like the Saugerties Lighthouse, Opus 40 and HITS.
To read more about the colorful history of this grand historic site see www.cloveleaestate.com/history