After years of sitting vacant, the former Leonard Hospital in Troy is being torn down

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TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After nearly two decades, an eyesore that has caused a number of problems for a local neighborhood is being torn down. Demolition at the old Leonard Hospital on New Turnpike Road in Lansingburgh started this week.

“It’s very exciting to see it coming down, and it’s a big project,” said Troy Mayor Patrick Madden.

The doors of the former medical facility closed some 20 years ago. After that, the first floor was used for a few years for office space, but after 2004, it was left vacant and abandoned.

“The city took it for taxes, I think it was 2012. We finally foreclosed on it, and took it because taxes hadn’t been paid on it,” said Mayor Madden.

Over the years, the 140,000 square foot blighted building has been the site of vandalism, squatters, a small fire, and teen parties with at least one resulting in a 17-year-old female falling from a ledge leaving her seriously injured.

Mayor Patrick Madden told NEWS10 ABC the project cost a little more than $2 million between the asbestos abatement and the demolition. In his 2020 State of the City address, he identified this as a priority project.

“It was bonded, so it will be paid out over a period of years,” said Mayor Madden.

Mayor Madden said the city had explored countless options to reuse the building, but the age and condition of the structure was continuously found to be unsuitable.

“We kept trying; we kept looking for investors to come in and make us an offer. We would have given the building to somebody who could have preserved it and put it back into productive use, but we couldn’t even get that. So finally the decision was made that it just has to come down,” said Mayor Madden.

Once the nearly 6.5-acre site is cleared out in a few months the city will work to solicit ideas from the community for future development options.

“At this time, it doesn’t look like it’s something that the city would try to redevelop. We would try to find a developer who would come in and create something there. That we’re interested in,” the mayor said.

Mayor Madden is hoping this will improve local property values and the overall quality of life in that neighborhood.

“As we redevelop the site, it will bring new vitality and activity into that neighborhood. It will increase our tax base, it will bring in opportunities for more residents, and those are all pluses for that area,” said Mayor Madden.

He said the reason it took so long to come down is because they truly wanted to exhaust all options on how to reuse it before they had to resort to the expensive option of demolishing it.

The process of asbestos abatement started late last year, but because there is no heat or running water, it was put on hold during the winter months, which were followed by the coronavirus pandemic. The work eventually picked back up and was completed over the summer. 

The demolition is expected to take about two weeks and then an additional few months to completely clear out the site. 

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