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Anyway, it's an interesting book.
Costs...Why are all these buildings, many of them immense, expensively constructed stone buildings, standing vacant?
Cost vs. potential for income.
Cost to study and perform due diligence
Cost to acquire development rights
Cost to remediate: buildings and sites
Cost to bring into current compliance: life safety, energy code, accessibility...
Cost to design new use into purpose built structure
The locations of some of these facilities may be at issue as well...they were rarely built in the middle of the bustle. Housing would be an appropriate reuse but convenience of access to daily needs can be a problem with many state and county hospitals.
Private developers usually aim for the low hanging fruit. The public agencies that hold title to these sites would be most able to undertake the effort if there was courage, funding, and will on the part of all.
Government doesn't have any impetus to act on much of anything, but the value of solidly built structures, designed in styles many people consider pleasing, ought to be of interest to developers. Other sorts of abandoned buildings get repurposed all the time, why not asylums? Possibly it's the association.
https://www.google.com/search?biw=1398& ... Lb8#imgrc=_
If the Richardson/Olmsted "complex" asylum becomes a hotel--and done in a fun and funky manner--that would be very cool.
My office recently adapted a big brick Sears & Roebuck distribution center into a mixed use project (office/retail/residential). It was originally built mostly in the teens & twenties.
You just can't buy 'bones' like that in this day and age. Load-bearing, cast-in-place concrete, steel windows, ....
When it was complete we moved in.
http://sbcharch.com/ourwork.php?Project ... riesList=6
When you run across a building was built that way it's worth trying to repurpose, if at all possible.
http://www.archdaily.com/877669/warehou ... ily%20List
"Scrap and build is the dominant culture in Japanese architecture and even if we were able to preserve old buildings, the existing structure is usually only used as a faÃ§ade. It was innovative for us in Japan that we were able to structurally evaluate and utilize the existing architecture."
I know some decried the displacement of the working poor of gentrifying neighborhoods due to rising taxes and landlords "selling out", but there are ways to address those issues equitably that were sparsely or never implemented by municipalities.
The Butler Warehouse (Harry Wild Jones, architect) was an enormous 5-story brick structure with 500,000 sf of floor space, converted into 9 stories of shops and a hotel. It had stood empty for many years. To facilitate the rehabilitation, the interior wood structure of massive Douglas fir beams was recycled. It spurred the rehabilitation of other such buildings in the area, many of them becoming high-end condos. Unlike the asylums, these buildings were of non-descript design (other than the handsome Butler building), just brick boxes in the garment district (where my 14-year-old grandmother had worked as a milliner) that had become an extension of the large slum south of Hennepin, but the recycling made it into one of the best downtown residential neighborhoods.
I doubt the location of all those asylums has any effect on their status. More likely, rehabbing them would cause the neighborhoods to improve estimably.
"the interior wood structure of massive Douglas fir beams was recycled" By recycled do you mean reused in place, or removed and repurposed ?
http://www.businessinsider.com/17-chill ... pus-2014-7
Every time I drove by that massive complex of brick buildings I thought someone should figure out a new use. (In fact, directly across the 2 lane highway was a Metro-North train station connecting it to New York City). Looking at this article, I see that a few years ago a portion of the buildings were bought by Olivet University. It appears they've run into trouble because of asbestos exposure occurring during their initial attempts to being rehabilitating the buildings. Originally, the buildings were bought by a mixed-use developer, who apparently balked and sold it to Olivet.
A bit of a hot potato.
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/stor ... /82343452/
On Google Earth you can search "Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center" and it takes you there.
The massive Douglas fir timbers were used in the warehouse to support floors with 2-story ceiling heights of heavy loads, and were thus ... massive. They were cut down and used to construct 9 floors where once there were 5. They are still quite hefty, and left exposed. There was a cover story on the conversion in an issue of Progressive Architecture (how I miss that magazine!) around the early '70s.