The following column was written by former Ossining Mayor Miguel Hernandez:
The Brandreth Pill Factory in the Village of Ossining is under severe threat of being demolished to make way for a seven-story, 165 unit condominium project called “Hidden Cove” on North Water Street. In 1980, the factory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places but even this prestigious designation will not save it if the developers, Peter and Nicholas Stolatis, doing business as Plateau Associates, have their way. They have been trying for several years to acquire adjacent properties that would give them approved access to this property along a multi-owner private roadway known as, the North Water Street Extension. To date, these efforts have not been successful. Apparently, the developer has repeatedly failed over the years to provide an up to date Environmental Impact Statement. This document would allow the Ossining Village government and the neighboring property owners to fully understand what the proposal is and what it specifically means for them and for the environment in general.
One of the major concerns of the neighbors is that it appears that Plateau Associates has engaged in the practice of “Demolition By Neglect” by failing over the years to protect the building from unchecked ruin. Apparently, they made no efforts to fix the leaking roof, the broken windows and other apertures that let damaging weather elements, animals and unauthorized persons into the structure. In this way, they could later make a claim that it is not economically feasible to adaptively reuse the historic factory for housing, as they originally stated several years ago. Demolition by neglect occurs when an owner, with malicious intent, lets a building deteriorate until it becomes a structural hazard and then turns around and asserts the building's advanced state of deterioration as a reason to justify its demolition. If the Plateau Associates plan goes forward all of the businesses on the North Water Street extension which employ well over 100 people are threatened. Already one of these has been forced to relocate at great expense.
As indicated above, the Brandreth Pill factory gained its National Register designation in 1980 because of its connection with Dr. Benjamin Brandreth (1809-1880) who in addition to his various medicinal products, practically invented the concept of mass media advertising. As a result, he sold his pills worldwide and employed hundreds of people at this plant and in other related businesses. By 1837, he was working from two buildings, one of which is the Greek Revival building that Plateau Associates wants to demolish. This building was designed by Calvin Pollard, a highly regarded architect from New York City who built two houses in Ossining for Brandreth (neither extant) as well as St. Paul's Episcopal Church (now Calvary Baptist Church) in downtown Ossining. Brandreth was born in England, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1840, and later entered local and politics. He served as Village President (mayor) for three years, and later was elected to two separate terms in the NY State Senate. He was also a founder of the Sing Sing Bank for Savings, Dale Cemetery, Trinity Episcopal Church and a number of other local community organizations and businesses.
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