Thursday, March 7, 2019

Thirteen Years of Stewardship

Hudson is about to lose another of its significant historic buildings: the original Hudson Orphan Asylum at 620 State Street.

Gossips was alerted on Tuesday that a "Condemned" notice had appeared on the building, and today the building is surrounded by concrete barriers and people in hardhats. A call to the Code Enforcement Office this morning, answered not by Craig Haigh but by someone who did not identify himself, confirmed the worst. Bricks from the building had been falling into the street, an engineer had inspected the building and declared it could not be saved, a demolition permit had been issued, and the destruction of the building was "a done deal."

portion of the building--an early extension--had already been demolished in 2010, without receiving a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission. (The building is in a locally designated historic district.) The decision now to demolish the entire building has also bypassed the HPC, because it is being done for public safety.

The building has been owned by Eric Galloway, and later by Galvan Initiatives Foundation, since 2006, and it has figured in a couple of proposals by Galvan. In 2012, it was the centerpiece of "Galvan Quarters," a transitional housing facility for homeless adults, with nineteen SRO units for Tier I housing and eighteen studio apartments for Tier II housing. The units were to be in the old orphanage and in the former Canape Garage building behind it.

That scheme met with fierce opposition from the community, and Galvan came back two years later with a different plan. This time, there would only be ten studio apartments in 620 State Street, and the garage building on Seventh Street, with two new stories built on it, would become a "multi-purpose building for educational and community service use," or maybe offices. After an initial presentation to the Planning Board in January 2014 and another in April 2014 (when the units had morphed into "entry level . . market rate" studio apartments), this project seems to have been abandoned during the misguided kerfuffle about minimum apartment size. 

Since 2014, no plans for the building have been publicly proposed. Somewhere along the line, the building got a new roof--without a certificate of appropriateness from the HPC--but now, new roof and all, the building is coming down. The demolition is expected to start soon--perhaps as soon as today.

A Footnote: The preliminary 2019 assessment for the building is $200,000. Its 2018 assessment was $57,000.  

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