Historic Saugerties mansion addition collapses… fully

The ruins of a wooden addition on the former Dragon Inn restaurant collapsed from the weight of snow from a recent storm. (photo by Robert Ford)

An irate Eyal Saad says he’s ordered Brooklyn-based developer Jason Moskowitz, owner of the dilapidated Dragon Inn on Barclay Heights, to come before the village historic preservation board (HRB) for approval to clean up the front of the building, formerly the grand manor home of local industrialist William Sheffield. A wooden addition to the front of the building added when it was the Dragon Inn Chinese restaurant collapsed from the weight of last week’s snowfall.

“I’ve contacted him and told him to come before the HTB this month,” Saad said, “and if he doesn’t I will begin to issue failure to appear notices that will require him to come before a village court judge and explain why he hasn’t.”

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The judge will then have the ability to fine Moskowitz for failing to come before the committee.

Saad said that he has told Moskowitz time and again that he must do something with the building and get approvals from the HRB to clean it up.

The historic Sheffield mansion, at one time called Clovelea, was turned into a Chinese restaurant in the 1980s and gutted by a fire in 1993. Since that time it has sat vacant and decaying.

Moskowitz purchased the building after the restaurant owner defaulted on a loan he obtained to buy the building. At that time, Moskowitz said he wanted to build a boutique hotel and include Clovelea as part of the building.

A man who had been living in the building’s basement was found dead last year, and at that time Saad ordered Moskowitz to seal up the building to keep vagrants, and kids out.

This month the HRB meets on March 22 at the village hall.

There are 9 comments

  1. Bob Swingle

    It is time too bulldoze this rat infested eyesore into the ground, and bill the owner. Stop trying to save a pile of junk. Anyone who thinks it is historical, should be given three months to come up with the money too buy it, and be made too either rebuild or remove in six months. If they do not come up with the money, in three months, then bull doze it. There is so much wrong with the world, why would anyone waste time, breath, and worst of all money, on a pile of junk, that no one cares about, well at least anyone with the slightest sense of reality. I believe that saving old buildings is about as dumb a thing, as anything humans do, how lame. Get a life. That building has about as much historical significance, as the town dump. GET RID OF IT NOW!!!

    1. Mark Smith

      This monumental building was declared a historic landmark 2 years ago.
      The architects are the same as designed the Mark Twain home.
      This building has the potential to be Saugerties Wilderstein and is a wonderful example of the wealth located in Saugerties in the late 1800’s.
      Tourism is now Saugerties most important industry so this estate would add a lot to the towns tourism resources.
      Preservation of historic places is a way of honoring ones past.

  2. JP

    Hey Mark, I know you are in charge of the historical Commitee. So I am sure this is something that you feel passionate about, however, long before you moved here, 10 or 15 years ago, this building started to fall down. People, like myself, are tired of looking at this dump. Also, what do tourists think when they see a dump like this. Is this a good representation of Saugerties? Why don’t you buy it if you love it so much and fix it up,

  3. Evan

    Bob you sound dumb so why would you even attempt to waist your breath on saying what you said? Your obviously as dumb as a bag of rocks. If you don’t like this historical building then move your sorry ass the hell out of saugerties.. this building is from the 1800s and has lots of history to it, it also has a lot of meaning to saugerties. Just cause some lazy asshole decided to buy it and not do nothing with it don’t mean it’s junk and worthless. It’s worth more then your house guarantee you that, plus the wooden addition was not built properly and that’s why the addition to the main building has falling down. These modern carpenters can’t build like they used to be able to back in the 1800s, that’s why the main structure and body of the building is in great shape for its age. So before you try to bash and talk people into bull dozing a piece of historical art go learn more about your shit. KEEP THE HISTORICAL BUILDING DO NOT TARE IT DOWN!!! If you know what’s best for saugerties…

  4. Bob Swingle

    A new grocery store, too compete with “Price Chopper”, or how about a “Golden Corral”, that would be better for tourists. Maybe take down this pile of junk, cut all the trees, down the hill too the creek, and put a solar array there. New construction, and a place that employs Saugerties workers, with new jobs, is long overdue, on this business corridor, piece of property. I believe, these historical societies, that name piles of junk, historical buildings, should not exist, or at least have no legal say in a building, unless they buy it, themselves. Again, making buildings “historical”, is just plain dumb, to me, especially, when it is a great site for a new business, that would employ Saugerties workers, and add greatly, too the the tax roll. The most historical thing about this building, is they used too make a great egg roll, too bad we cannot, knock this eyesore down, and build a new Chinese restaurant, now that would be historical.

  5. catsuny

    Spring has sprung!!!!Wake up get dressed go to work and clean the mess up.The owner has money and is just using every method to not pay up.E kugn already move on!Funny how the original a!Is er defaulted​ and walked away and nothing….Like now nothing

  6. Jpf

    So what person in their right mind is going to pay 5 or 6 hundred thousand dollars, and then be told by the Historical Commitee how it should be renovated, which in turn, if directed by the historical Comittee, will probably cost another couple of million dollars. Who? Nobody, that’s who! You are all kidding yourselves, it will never happen. By the way Evan, I don’t have a clue who Bob Swindle is, but if you can’t carry on a conversation without using profanity and calling people names, you actually show how narrow minded you are!

  7. Jason

    Let me add facts to this forum. I am the owner of the Clovelea Mansion. When I purchased it almost two years ago, I was hoping to work in conjunction with the town and with the local Historic Review Board to clean up the site, remove the disgusting “addition,” and if possible save the historic mansion and add to it an inn to make it a financially viable asset to both the investors, the county, town and village, and the community.

    However, from the day I bought it, I was derided in the press by the current administration, my calls to the police about vagrants went unheeded and dismissed by the government entities when asked about tax relief in hopes of using that money towards the resurrection of the property. There have been several news articles and stories by Paula Mitchell – the only local reporter who has reached out for my input, that well document what I am saying.

    I made one mistake about 7 months ago when I tried to demolish the addition to the property, without first obtaining a permit to do so. The addition was never properly recorded when built, so I wrongly assumed I could just take it down. I was issued a stop work order, and told that NY state had to come inspect for proper asbestos removal, at my expense. Admittedly I got frustrated by this proverbial last straw and when my men were pulled off the job by the town and sent home, I acted inappropriately, hoping the addition would fall of its own accord, which it has.

    The day after it fell I asked the town if I could clean it up and I was told no. I needed to file a permit to clean it and wait for the next Historic Review Board meeting to gain their approval as well. That meeting unfortunately was only a few days away and I couldn’t get up to Saugerties in that window of 2 hours. They meet once a month and I will go to the next one if relations with the town improve.

    However, after several thousand dollars spent, and zero cooperation heretofore from the local administration, I am no longer willing to chase good money after bad. I will not fund raise or look for investors because it seems that this administration is more interest in collecting their back taxes from a previous owner than future tax revenue from a viable business.

    Finally, unfortunately I am not a millionaire savior of lost buildings. Much as I wish that were true, I simply saw a distressed property that was an eyesore to a lovely community and wanted to change its fate somehow. I worked closely with the friends of Clovelea, who were wonderful, but too few in number to actually affect real change. I was offered volunteer help and some funding from them, but opted to turn it down because I didn’t want to waste others time or donations.

    I still have hope for this property, but nothing will happen until the local administration is willing to renegotiate old tax bills in exchange for promises by me of future development.

    Thank you all and I hope this sheds some true light on this subject.

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