By Gwendolyn Craig
The Masten House has been sold and will be a private residence, according to an attorney for the buyer.
The Newcomb mansion, previously owned by the State University of New York’s Environmental Science and Forestry College Foundation, was sold at the end of November for $1 million to a private corporation called Upper Works LLC. The listing price was $1.45 million.
Records show the LLC was created on Nov. 17 and its contact is attorney Timothy Smith, based out of Lake Placid. Smith said on Wednesday that the new owners wished to remain private. The intended use for the property, Smith added, was as a private, single-family residence.
The news dashes hopes that some had for a gateway visitor center to the southern Adirondack High Peaks and marks the end of educational programming there. The Adirondack Mountain Club, for one, had expressed interest in the property as another public entry point.
The eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion on 46 acres is near Henderson Lake and affords views of several High Peaks. The Open Space Institute purchased the Masten House in 2003 and sold it to the college foundation in 2012. Previously the mansion had been a retreat for executives of National Lead.
Brenda Greenfield, executive director of the college foundation, said the foundation purchased the Masten House to support programming through SUNY ESF’s Newcomb campus.
“Over time it was determined that the Newcomb Campus program needs were being met in other ways,” Greenfield wrote, in an email. “Since the property no longer fit within the Foundation’s mission, it was sold.”
The Open Space Institute still has a conservation easement on the property, which travels with new buyers. The easement prevents development of new roads, structures and trails and is intended “to conserve the scenic, historic, open space, and natural character of the protected property while allowing certain residential and not-for-profit commercial activities,” records show.
Eileen Larrabee, a spokesperson for OSI, had said in October that the institute would have preferred SUNY ESF to maintain ownership, but also wished “the new owners well and fully expect their fulfillment of OSI’s carefully crafted conservation easement.”
The state has invested in the property over the years, too, with two grants totaling $250,000 from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. SUNY ESF and DEC spokespeople said the terms of those grants had been fulfilled.
Greenfield added that “ESF continues to own and operate the Newcomb Campus, including the 15,000-acre Huntington Wildlife Forest, the Adirondack Ecological Center and the Adirondack Interpretive Center. All of these properties are managed for educational purposes and many are available for public programs and recreation.”