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May 17, 2019

Rutland looking to develop former state hospital site

Photo | Grant Welker The empty hilltop site of the former Rutland State Hospital offers 50 buildable acres for which the town is seeking proposals from developers.

The Town of Rutland is seeking development proposals for an empty hilltop site just south of the town center where the former Rutland State Hospital once stood.

Town officials are looking to bring useful life back to the 88-acre site, which is zoned to accommodate denser development than could be built elsewhere in town, and a quicker path to construction.

“Someone could come in and start digging and have a building up in six months,” said Michael Sullivan, the chairman of the Rutland Development & Industrial Commission, which has permitting oversight for the site.

Called Rutland Heights, the property off Maple Street was first used in 1895 as a hospital for tuberculosis patients and starting the 1920s was a 350-bed Veterans Affairs hospital. It was used in its final decades as a state addiction treatment hospital, and it closed in 1991.

The complex of brick buildings sat vacant for years until it was demolished in 2005, and the site cleaned of any contaminants. Old water and sewer lines were replaced, and roads repaved, making the site more attractive for eventual reuse.

The town bought the site in 2012 for $456,000. Past efforts to seek development proposals were not fruitful. 

About 50 acres of the site can be developed, with much of the remainder of the site hilly areas that are slated to be covered with ground-mounted solar panels.

Bids from developers are due by May 31. Developers may offer to buy or lease the property.

Town officials have said they envision potential office or assisted living uses but don't have a particular preference for the site. The request for proposals prioritizes a project's compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood, as well as job and tax revenue creation.

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