As you might imagine, as the author of Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums, I like to keep up with the news on which abandoned asylums are being repurposed and opening to the public. I get so excited thinking about the history and architecture of the buildings being preserved! For me, my initial interest has always gone back to the thrill of just exploring a magnificent, historical building. Are these buildings haunted? Yes, in the sense of having stories and a rich history. Sometimes we can just appreciate art and architecture for what they are and put the ghost stories on hold.

The asylum conversions that I am most excited to see are:

1. Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane – Buffalo, New York:

This is a Kirkbride building from the late 1800’s that is being repurposed for a hotel and conference center. They are still doing events while the conversion is going on. I have tried twice to get up there to Buffalo and take an in-depth tour, but I keep having flight issues getting out of Atlanta!

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2. Fergus Falls State Hospital – Fergus Falls, Minnesota:

Another Kirkbride that is being saved by Historic Properties, Inc. If all goes according to plan, the hotel that is planned will open in December 2015. This will be a mixed use development, which will include restaurants and apartments.

3. Traverse City State Hospital – Traverse City, Michigan:

The Minervini Group has truly made The Village at Grand Traverse Commons a community. This is quite possibly the gold standard for asylum conversions. They have created a live/work community with park space, biking and hiking trails, and even a farmers market! If I moved to Michigan, I would SO live here.

4. Danvers State Asylum – Danvers, Massachusetts:

The former Danvers State Asylum was converted into apartments in 2008. The asylum is perhaps most famous for the movie Session 9.

5. Lakeville State Hospital – Lakeville, Massachusetts:

This is one that is purportedly still up for sale at a cool $7 million.

6. Fairfield Hills State Hospital – Newtown, Connecticut:

Commercial opportunities are abundant over on the Fairfield Hills campus. The public is welcome and hiking trails are available to enjoy.

Links:

http://www.richardson-olmsted.com/

http://www.buffalonews.com/opinion/buffalo-news-editorials/renovation-of-the-richardson-complex-is-transforming-an-architectural-gem-20141016

http://www.buffalonews.com/business/real-estate/effort-begins-to-transform-fantastic-jewel-of-the-city-20141009

http://www.kare11.com/story/news/local/land-of-10000-stories/2013/10/09/historic-mn-insane-asylum-spared-from-wrecking-ball/3867719/

Plans underway to repurpose an historic treatment center in Fergus Falls

Home

http://www.oddthingsiveseen.com/2008/06/avalon-danvers-apartments-nee-danvers.html

http://www.bozzuto.com/apartments/communities/630-halstead-danvers/media

http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2014/10/25/what-like-live-danvers/vCSaVqX3PyhAiy9caPWF8N/story.html

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130520/NEWS/305200317

http://fairfieldhills.org/property.html

http://www.prairiebizmag.com/event/article/id/21549/

http://www.9and10news.com/story/27389125/cordia-building-50-project-completed-at-grand-traverse-commons

http://mynorth.com/2014/12/village-grand-traverse-commons/

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