Permit granted for Saugerties mansion cleanup

(Photo by Robert Ford)

Work should begin in the coming weeks to clean up the piles of wood and remove the underbrush at the Clovelea (Dragon Inn) property on Route 9W. Village code officer Eyal Saad and the village’s historic review board recently issued a demolition permit to Brooklyn-based broker Jason Moskowitz to clean up the debris that surrounds the former majestic mansion of nineteenth-century industrialist William Sheffield.

The mansion, which was built by one of the more prominent Saugerties families, has sat in ruin since a fire gutted what was at the time the Dragon Inn Chinese restaurant in the 1990s. Then-owner Chan Ya Wu had wooden additions built to the front and the side of the building. During the last two years, those additions, which had rotted, collapsed under the weight of heavy snowfalls.

Moskowitz purchased the building in a tax sale from the bank that was holding title to the building after Wu failed to make mortgage payments. At the time of the purchase, Moskowitz said he planned on forming a partnership and developing the mansion as a boutique hotel.

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Those plans never materialized. Saad recently said Moskowitz wants to get the property cleaned up, something the village has been after him to do for the last two years.

Brian Wilson, a member of the village’s historic review board, explained at the board’s August 23 meeting the demolition permit was only for the collapsed wooden additions. The former mansion will not be touched. “When it’s done, the building will be back to its original condition without the additions,” Wilson said.

While cleaning up the debris will help, board member David Minch said the building was still being “demolished by neglect.”

Board chair Jonathan Shapiro said Moskowitz has not disclosed his plans for the future of the building. Cleaning it up was a start, Shapiro said.

 

There are 4 comments

  1. Doug Freese

    Well it was the only sign of progress in years. As big a fan of preservation that i am, I think making it a historic landmark will be it’s death. With that restriction, only a philanthropist, and a local one, will be able turn that around. Just how many more years with no windows before the building rots away. Welcome to Saugerties and then mess. I get to see this a few times a day. Cleaning up the remnants of the addition is like one bag of sand in Houston to stop the flooding.

  2. Ellie Langdon

    I don’t believe any thing will happen. Just a big eye sore.
    Tear the whole thing down. No one will spend that kind of money.
    We don’t need another historic landmark , need to spend the money bringing in businesses, esp. for vacant McDonald building . That is also starting to look unkempt.

  3. Dennis Elmendorf

    I ‘m surprised the Town of Saugerties does not rebuilt this for Town business. Court house, clerk, and all other town business. Do not be like Kingston and let history be destroyed. Its a great building and deserves attention. It could be a real gem at the entrance to Saugerties traveling north on 9W. Make it happen.

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