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DOVER, NY-New York State closed on the sale of the Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center here for nearly $4 million to Dover Knolls Development Co. LLC, which has preliminary plans to turn the property into a mixed-use development. The project, which includes senior assisted living residences, retail stores and recreational facilities, is expected to create 500 new jobs, state officials say.

The psychiatric center has been closed since 1994 and organizations such as the Harlem Valley Partnership and others have been marketing the site for redevelopment. Over the past 10 years there have been a number of development proposals for the 850-acre site. While Dover Knolls works with local officials on obtaining approvals for its project, a juvenile detention facility located on the grounds of the facility is still in operation.

Under terms of the deal with Dover Knolls and included in the sales price was a $1 million letter of credit that New York State can draw down when the juvenile detention facility on Harlem Valley’s grounds is vacated and transferred elsewhere.

Al Benjamin, principal of Dover Knolls, said at the announcement of the deal, “We see the development of this property as a prime economic development engine for the entire region, and look forward to the housing and jobs we will create.”

The complex features approximately 80 buildings totaling nearly two million sf of office/hospital space. Officials with the Harlem Valley Partnership say that some of the buildings on the complex will most likely be rehabilitated. In addition, improvements will be made to an existing golf course on the property.

The closure of the facility in 1994 was devastating to the Town of Dover. At its peak in the 1970s, the Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center had 5,000 patients and approximately 5,000 employees. The current population of Dover is about 8,600 residents.

In addition, Dutchess County officials note that the closure of the psychiatric center and the soon-to-be relocation of the juvenile detention facility will result in the loss of $75 million in payroll to the region.

“The economic and commercial development of this land will mean more jobs and an increased quality of life for the region,” Jill Way, supervisor for the Town of Dover, said. “Our residents have been supportive of this purchase and recognize its significance in helping to continue keeping our local economy on the right track.”

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