FORT EDWARD — General Electric Co. plans to demolish its main manufacturing building on Route 4.
GE spokesman John Brodt said in a news release Wednesday afternoon that the company has determined that “the building is antiquated, lacks modern manufacturing and communications systems and would likely have no value to another user in the future.”
He said the company would apply for a demolition permit and try to complete the work by 2018.
Town Supervisor Mitchell Suprenant said the decision to demolish the plant, which is assessed at $7.1 million, makes it even more critical that the Chinese Railway Rolling Stock Corp. is successful in its bid to build 1,025 subway cars for New York City at a plant it would build at another GE site in town, the former river sediment “dewatering” facility.
“This makes the China Rail deal even more important. If that doesn’t come through, we’re all in trouble in Fort Edward, in the county and in the Hudson Falls schools,” Suprenant said.
Despite being in the town of Fort Edward, located near the Washington County Municipal Building, the Route 4 GE site is in the Hudson Falls Central School District and the demolition will have an impact on those school taxes.
Fort Edward schools are already bracing for the tax loss from a lowered assessment on the dismantled dewatering facility, which was used for the Hudson River dredging project. GE has shuttered the dewatering complex, which had carried an assessment of about $72.6 million and contributed about $1.5 million in taxes to the Fort Edward school district — almost half of all the school taxes collected.
Building not usable
Brodt said GE evaluated the structural condition and infrastructure of the main manufacturing building, which has been closed since GE moved its manufacturing of capacitors to Clearwater, Florida.
GE made the decision because it is sensitive to the public’s concern that the building could fall into disrepair, Brodt said.
“It’s good and it’s bad,” Suprenant said. “If it sat there like the plant in Hudson Falls, it would be a big eyesore.”
GE’s goal is to proceed with the dismantling by sometime in 2018. A second building on the site, Building 40 at the rear of the property, will remain in place.
GE intends to own and maintain the Fort Edward plant site for the foreseeable future, Brodt said.
County Administrator Chris DeBolt and Brodt both said the county had preliminary discussions with GE about the possibility of the county using Building 40.
DeBolt said he believes GE made the decision to keep the building from becoming run down.
“I understand GE senses that the neighbors do not want the building to become a derelict,” he said. “But it certainly is a tax issue for the county, the town and the school district.”
A possible future
Laura Oswald, the county’s director of economic…