I wrote a previous entry a while back when "The Pink Palace", the former Skidmore College dorm on Union Avenue that was officially known as Moore Hall, was sold to Norstar, a development company out of Buffalo. Soon after that, I noticed that the grass was not being cut and there was a noticeable difference between the admirable way that Skidmore previously maintained the property and how Norstar seemed to be neglecting it. Because I live within sight of that building, I was concerned about the lack of maintenance so I called both the company's Buffalo office as well as Mayor Scott Johnson's office and expressed my concerns. A few days later the grass was cut and it continued to get cut for the rest of the summer.
That's the good news. The bad news is that it appears that they aren't doing much more than cutting the grass. I will post some pictures below which show, among other things: graffiti, piles of (flammable) debris , weeds and small scrub trees growing not only along the side of the building but also on the roof (!), and just too many other signs of an abandoned building. The question I have is how long before we see broken windows, rodents, homeless people, partying teenagers, and other signs of urban decay on otherwise pristine Union Avenue?
Where is the city on this? They should be able to see the same things that I am seeing. Also, I think it's fair to expect Skidmore College to respect the neighborhood that hosted this residence hall for nearly 50 years and ensure they sell their unused properties to companies that will respect the city and its neighborhoods by properly maintaining their property. I will be contacting officials about this but since I called both the company and the mayor's office once already about this building I should not have to harp on them to do the right thing. The initial lack of grass cutting should have been a red flag to city officials that this company may have to be monitored and prodded to properly maintain their property. I would expect this if I lived in another city perhaps but not in Saratoga Springs, NY. Unacceptable!
I wrote a related blog entry here on the Times Union's Saratoga Springs residents' blog.