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Surprise Demolition Kills Historic Pill Factory And Trove of Good Graffiti


04.16.15 Lainna Fader

Ossining’s historic Brandreth Pill Factory was demolished without permit on Tuesday morning, according to a report from lohud.com. The abandoned factory had become somewhat of a graffiti hotspot in the last few years. Ossining is an easy two-hour train ride from NYC, close enough to attract dedicated artists and urban explorers, but far enough to keep amateurs and detractors away.

Traffic to this spot likely spiked after a 2012 blog post by AbandonedNY, highlighting the history of the Brandreth family and their foray into the medicine business in what was then called Sing Sing. A recent visit revealed room after room full of incredible, fairly well-preserved graffiti from the likes of SEKT, MAST, AMMO, JICK, VET, JAYR and more. At the time of this trip, most of the building was still intact, though a portion of the roof had caved in. Now, the entire building is in ruins.

SEKT, PEIS, VET

Built in the 1830s, the main building on Water Street was the oldest in the Brandreth industrial complex, most of which was destroyed in a fire in the 1870s. Brandreth has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, and landmarked locally, so it’s a real shame that the owners, Plateau Associates LLC of Pleasantville, decided to raze the protected property.

Miguel Hernandez, a public historian for the Ossining Historical Society, shared the news in the About Ossining – A Town Square’s Facebook group and provided some context for the fight to preserve the historic building:

“When Plateau Associates first bought this property over ten years ago they said that they would preserve the exterior and build condo apartment in the interior. Subsequently they decided this would not work to their advantage and they embarked on a policy and practice of neglect of a sound building in order to justify knocking it down for a larger/higher floor building. This is known in legal and historic preservation circles as ‘demolition by intentional neglect.’ Over the years Plateau has been cited by the Village for various violations and they have failed to remedy them or to provide an up to date Environmental Impact Statement. Plateau has also engage [sic] in law suits against various neighbors who have business nearby in order to gain control of all of the neighboring properties and this get their way. Their major obstacle is that the North Water Street extension that leads to their property is not a legal street, is owned jointly by several others and is not otherwise compliant in terms of width and other aspects with legal street requirements. The Planning Board has told them that unless they solve the problem of access there in no point in approving their plan. Incidentally the planning board has asked a number of times for an updated and complete Environmental Impact Statement and to date Plateau has not delivered it.”

TAME, AMMO

Joanna Tall, chair of the village’s Historic Preservation Commission, told Patch.com, “We are all amazed at this owner’s brazen attempts to destroy this structure.” Ossining residents—at least those engaged in the town’s Facebook community—appear to be quite unhappy about the demolition, with a number of neighbors calling for a heavy penalty to be imposed on Plateau Associates LLC. Plateau Associates LLC’s lawyer maintains that its demolition permit was, in fact, valid.

(Photos: Lainna Fader)