Nearly two decades after shutting its doors, the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center site will be redeveloped to provide educational opportunities and economic growth, according to the new owners, Olivet Management LLC.
Olivet Management purchased the Town of Dover property Friday. The project will include educational facilities by San Francisco-based Olivet University, retail vendors, an information technology center, and a research and development site, the company said.
“Olivet Management is pleased to have the opportunity to restore and revitalize this dormant property,” said spokeswoman Anna Oh. “We are also thankful to help contribute to the economic development of the Dover community.”
The project is in its early stages but the company will conduct a comprehensive assessment and create a plan in consultation with architects and landscape designers to help guide the development. Olivet purchased the land because of its tranquil surroundings and proximity to the train station, Oh said.
“This is an exciting opportunity for redevelopment of a site that once employed much of the community and hopefully will do so again,” Dover Supervisor Ryan Courtien said.
Olivet bought 503 acres on the east side of the property with the option to purchase 428.2 acres on the west, Courtien said. The site has about 70 buildings on each side.
Benjamin Companies purchased the property in October 2003 for $3.95 million, according to Journal archives.
Initially, Benjamin Companies wanted to use the land for educational purposes, but no college or university expressed interest. The Long Island firm then applied for state permits to build a mixed-use residential and commercial development known as Dover Knolls Development, Benjamin President and CEO Denise Coyle said in a statement.
The project was a long way from final approval and at least 15 years from completion when Olivet Management expressed interest in buying the property, Coyle said.
“The sale presents the real potential for immediate economic stimulus,” Coyle said. “The anticipated significant increase in our local population will help attract national retailers to our community.”
Oh said Olivet is inheriting the Dover Knolls plan but several questions remain.
Oh declined to disclose how much the property was sold for, but that information will be available later through county records. Oh estimated the project would result in the creation of about 1,000 jobs within five years. She said she was uncertain which permits are required, but said the company is discussing the project with authorities.
The company has a five-year plan, pending necessary approvals, to create a research institution, but it’s undecided what type of research it would be used for, she said.