Craig House Sold to Investment Group

By Jeff Simms

The historic Tioronda Estate on the outskirts of Beacon, which includes the former Craig House psychiatric center, was sold on Sept. 18, just hours before the City Council enacted a six-month building moratorium.

Daniel Aubry, the Beacon real estate agent who brokered the deal, said on Sept. 20 that he could not reveal the name of the buyer or the purchase price without the permission of the buyer, who he said is traveling outside the country. Aubry confirmed that the buyer is the same “investment group” that he referred to in an interview with The Current in July.

The details of the sale have not yet been filed with Dutchess County.

Craig House (Photo by Sami Fego)

The investment group, which purchased the property from the estate of the late philanthropist Robert Wilson, plans to develop the parcel, and Aubry said he is in discussions with “hospitality groups” about bringing in a spa, boutique hotel or similar venture.

The property’s 14,000-square-foot, neo-gothic mansion, built in 1859, will be “at the heart” of any project, Aubry said. The balance of the 64-acre property will “very likely” be developed for housing, he said. Current zoning would allow about 22 single-family homes on the property.

The contract was signed in May but Aubry said the deal would not have happened if the moratorium had been in place.

“The moratorium creates a considerable amount of uncertainty, and the markets don’t like uncertainty,” he said. “I suspect that this could be the last land deal to happen in Beacon for a while — but I understand the community’s concern, and the people spoke.”

Regarding the possibility of zoning changes while the moratorium is in place, Aubry said, “I expect [the new owners] will use the six months to explore their options.”

5 Responses to "Craig House Sold to Investment Group"

  1. Jennifer Sarah Blakeslee
    Jennifer Sarah Blakeslee   September 22, 2017 at 9:12 am

    “Just hours before the moratorium” + “22 single-family homes” = unspeakable anger at Mr. Aubry.

    Reply
  2. Catherine McCarthy   September 22, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    I am thrilled, as we are practically neighbors! At least this group will bring in tax revenue! Looking forward to the possibility of a “spa.”

    Reply
  3. Jennifer   September 23, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I cannot tell you how happy I am that this beautiful home, built as a gift of love from Gen. Howland to his wife, will be restored. In the late 1970s, at age 13, I was the youngest patient ever admitted to Craig House, following a long history of childhood sexual abuse. Sadly, the abuse continued while I was a patient and my memories of the place are filled with far more darkness than healing.

    It has been a long-time vision of mine to one day purchase the property and turn all that darkness into light by starting a residential school for girls and women recovering from abuse and sex trafficking. I cannot think of a better way to extinguish the darkness than to get right in is face and use it against itself.

    I sincerely hope that the new owners are able to bring the healing light back and restore it to the gift of love it was always meant to be.

    [Editor’s note: Although we require those who post here to include their first and last name, in this case we agreed to withhold Jennifer’s full name.]

    Reply
  4. Mary Fris   September 24, 2017 at 4:48 am

    There is no mention of whether this “group of investors” has tax-free status. Whatever we do let’s please not assume that they have only the best of intentions with regard to its development. The town already lost an opportunity for Clarkson University to establish a satellite presence there. Now we are told about a spa and hotel and homes, which I find very hard to believe as how they plan to make a return on what would likely be a $50 million plus investment. We need to watch this like a hawk.

    Reply
  5. Janice Sullivan   October 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    It is of the utmost importance that the historic Tioronda Building be preserved to its original state, including refurbishing the magnificent pipe organ in the building. I worked there in the 1970s, and this building needs to remain as it was, no matter what other plans they have for the property.

    Reply

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