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Briarcliff Lodge News Updates

January 2, 2010
It was announced in the summer of 2009 that The Club at Briarcliff Manor closed on purchasing the former campus of The King's College in Briarcliff Manor, NY. The Club will continue with the general plan put forth by two previous developers to build a continuing care retirement community at the site of Briarcliff Lodge. A press release can be found here.

September25, 2007
Added recent photos of the Lodge site.

December 13, 2006
Updated the links page regarding photos of the Briarcliff Lodge fire.

August 23, 2006
Hyatt announced this week that it will not develop the former Briarcliff Lodge property due to rising construction costs. 

Source article: "Senior housing plans scrapped in Briarcliff Manor." By Reka Bala, The Journal News. August 20, 2006.

September 26, 2004
Info regarding future plans for the former Briarcliff Lodge property. Barrington Venture will not be developing the property after all, but they have cleared the way for a similar plan. From the press release: 

"Classic Residence by Hyatt Signs Purchase Agreement for Briarcliff Manor, New York Site
Leader in Luxury Senior Living to Develop Continuing Care Retirement Community in Westchester County

CHICAGO, IL, September 14, 2004 — Classic Residence by Hyatt, a national leader in senior living, has executed a purchase agreement to purchase a 59-acre parcel in Briarcliff Manor, New York. The land is on the former campus of Kings College, 30 miles north of New York City. Classic Residence by Hyatt plans to develop a luxury continuing care retirement community (CCRC) on the site with approximately 315 independent living residences and an on-site care center offering assisted living, skilled nursing care, and Alzheimer’s/memory support care. Closing is expected to occur in late 2005, after the project receives site plan approval from the Village of Briarcliff Manor and licensure to develop a CCRC from the State of New York.

“We’re excited about this opportunity and being a part of the Briarcliff Manor community. Briarcliff Manor is a great location for the type of luxury CCRC Classic Residence by Hyatt is known for,” commented Classic Residence by Hyatt President Randy Richardson.

Classic Residence by Hyatt currently owns and manages 17 upscale senior living communities from coast to coast, with two new luxury CCRCs under development. Classic Residence by Hyatt communities have earned honors for being among the nation’s finest, including the Gold Nugget Grand Award in the category of “Best Seniors’ Project—Active Adult” as well as Best of Seniors’ Housing Platinum Achievement Awards for overall community and interior design and Best of Seniors’ Housing Gold Achievement Awards in the category of “On the Boards” from the National Association of Home Builders Seniors Housing Council. The toll-free corporate number is 1-800-421-1442, and the company’s Web site is at"

July 29, 2004
The Briarcliff Lodge book will be released after August 15, 2004. Click here for more details.

May 3, 2004
Added photos of the campus from April, 2004, after all buildings have been demolished.

April 11, 2004
Updated text on the history page.

January 26, 2004
The last intact section of Briarcliff Lodge was demolished on January 16, 2004. The last part to go was the 1980s stairway extension to the Tower addition.

November 19, 2003
Demolition is under way on the former campus of The King's College. Squire Hall, the gymnasium, is demolished. The 1909 Tower addition to Briarcliff Lodge is still standing, as is the powerhouse/steam plant. Miller Circle is still standing.

November 3, 2003
Changed the text regarding Walter Law and the W & J Sloane company on the history page.

October 8, 2003
Added a small sample of photographs of the fire and ruins of Briarcliff Lodge from September 20, 2003.

September 30, 2003
Added two new articles to the links page - one for the Journal News (9.28.03) and one for Preservation Online (9.30.03).

September 26, 2003
Just a point of clarification - Briarcliff Lodge was not going to be demolished on September 24. rather, the process was going to begin that day. First, the building had to be abated of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, lead etc. Once that job was completed and certified, then a demolition permit would be granted. Mazzochi Wrecking planned to demolish and remove 133,000 square feet of building material between September 24 and December 31, 2003. I have clarified this on the main page and on the page entitled History of Briarcliff Lodge, for those of you who print this up at home.

September 23, 2003
Added a Briarcliff Lodge links page at are links to photos taken by firefighters on September 20. 

September 21, 2003

Briarcliff Lodge was partly destroyed by a major fire this past weekend. Demolition was scheduled to start on Wednesday.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, September 20, 2003, a fire broke out in the 1902 section of Briarcliff Lodge. This wood-frame section was entirely destroyed within hours. The first fire crews were on the scene at 6:45 am. The fire may have been smoldering for several hours, although I was told by a firefighter that a security guard making rounds of the property did not report anything suspicious at 5am. By mid-afternoon, all that was left of the original section was the ground level stone facade and the brick chimneys. Those were demolished later in the night by a wrecking crew. The 1906 north wing, built of concrete and in the same architectural style as the original Lodge, and the 1909 rear tower addition, all survived the fire, but the fire perhaps sped up their demolition schedule.

I was in the middle of a website update this weekend, to mark the beginning of the end of this wonderful building, when the fire occurred. I have created a "Then and Now" page showing historic and contemporary images of Briarcliff Lodge. Although, now, all of the contemporary images are historic in their own right. Please visit the revamped Briarcliff Lodge website at

I happened to be driving north through Briarcliff Manor on Route 9a at 6:45 Saturday morning, on my way to an appointment, when I saw the smoke, and knew right away what it had to be. I stopped and took some photos from Central Drive, but didn't suspect I would be able to get close to the building. I returned later in the day and was able to walk up very close, but by then the main section was gone. I photographed until 7:30pm. I don't know how soon I will be able to have these photos on-line, but I suspect Michael Molinelli, or someone else with the Fire Department, will have them up on another site soon. Michael tried to save the Lodge during the past
year, and helped fight the fire on Saturday. His website is at

September 11, 2003

It is my understanding that abatement of hazardous materials (such as lead, asbestos, etc), and subsequent demolition of Briarcliff Lodge is set to begin later this month. The property has been fenced off, and numerous "No Trespassing" signs have been posted. Thanks again to everyone who has expressed interest in the Lodge and shared stories and photos.

July 21, 2003
The Village recently approved the zoning variance for the Barrington Venture project. their plans calls for the demolition of Briarcliff Lodge. They have not applied for a demolition permit, but are expected to soon. Barrington Venture officially owns the property now, having closed the deal with Blue Lake Properties.

May 26, 2003

After the recent Board of Trustees Meeting in Briarcliff Manor, it seems that the Board and the Mayor are ready to approve the Zoning Variance sought by Barrington Venture to build on the former campus of The King's College. Their plan calls for the demolition of Briarcliff Lodge, the building around which the village was formed and grew.

Unfortunately there is a (mistaken) belief in the village that the building is "too far gone" to be saved, or that Barrington will back out if they are required to preserve the building. A building is never too far gone to save - there are numerous examples of buildings in the Hudson Valley that have been adaptively-reused after many years of neglect.

When first interested in this property, Barrington said they wanted to reuse the old hotel, which was one of the most famous in America in the early 20th century. Now, they are saying they cannot do it, but they have not provided numbers showing that adaptive reuse, versus the cost of demolition of the existing building and removal of bedrock (for a parking garage) would be a burden.

After the destruction of Pennsylvania Station in New York City, The New York Times wrote: "We will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed." The Mayor and the Board of Trustees spoke of commemorating the Lodge in the new building, as a way of "remembering what once was." But why remember "what once was" when we can still make do with what is?

April 22, 2003

The Porte Cochere (entrance portico on the east side of the building)  has collapsed.  This was  peripheral to the essential structure, which is solid and stable. Apparently the Porte Cochere was unstable and was purposely pulled down by the owner. 

April 4, 2003
Currently the Planning Board is assembling their findings to submit to the Village Board of Trustees.  It is unlikely this will be done before the new Board takes office in April.

March 6, 2003
Preservation Online - The Online Magazine of National Trust for Historic Preservation - has run a piece on Briarcliff Lodge. "Developer May Raze 1902 Hotel for Retirement Community" was Today's News for Monday March 3, 2003. Follow the link to read the article. 

Also, the Public Hearing to amend the Zoning Code to permit the Garlands (Barrington) Project at the site of Briarcliff Lodge will be adjourned until March 10, 2003. Contact the village of Briarcliff Manor for more information.

1111 Pleasantville Road
Briarcliff Manor, NY  10510
(914) 941-4800

August 5, 2002

The 1902 Music Building has been demolished. This follows the demolition of the Briarcliff Garage in 1999/2000. Thus far, two of the buildings original to the 1902 hotel complex have been demolished in anticipation of The Garlands at Briarcliff (A third building was demolished by The King's College prior to the construction of the Robert Cook Academic / Science Building).
The Executive Summary of Final Environmental Impact Statement for "The Garlands" has been posted at the Briarcliff Manor village website. Interestingly, the list of "Potential negative impacts resulting from the Proposed Action" does not include the loss of a local and regional landmark, an example of historic and distinctive architecture designed by a well-known architect, associated with persons of historic significance, over 50 years old, fit for adaptive reuse, and worthy of nomination to the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

April 27, 2002
I have not updated this site in a while, because well, there has been nothing to update. Recent phone calls to the Village of Briarcliff Manor tell that there has been no formal approval for the plans of Barrington Venture LLC to demolish the exisiting structures on the former campus of The King's College. There also are no plans for village meetings to discuss future options for this property. Communications with Barrington Venture LLC have not been returned. Visit to see if there are any official announcements to be made.

November 23, 2000
Most of the overgrowth between Briarcliff Lodge and the Student Life Center (Pool Building) was removed. Don’t know if this is a good or bad sign, but bad signs abound inside the Lodge itself. This from a fellow visitor:

There is bad stuff at kings...was there 2 nights ago ...the stairwell up to the roof I believe is now boarded shut, most of the entrances between the main building and the (men’s) dorms have been boarded off, and there is now tons of anti-semitic grafitti in the mens dorm.
November 10, 2000
NEWS NEWS NEWS - Today I made my most recent trip to Briarcliff Lodge, and was taken for a surprise. Hoping for interior photography, I was denied when I saw workmen outside the Lodge. More trash was being taken out, and many, many more windows have been boarded up (including most of the Oak Room, which was one of the brighter spaces in the Lodge.)
A very polite fellow there told me that they were removing rubbish and doing work to keep vandals out. He said "it may come down, it may not...we had a building engineer who came in and said the structure is pretty good." He mentioned something about a court case, in which local citizens were protesting the plan on the basis of the increased traffic it would bring.
Thirsty for more info, I headed on over to Briarcliff Manor Village Hall, were a copy of the mammoth Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) submitted by Barrington Ventures resides. This book is bigger than the Bible, and probably comes close to the Oxford English Dictionary. Of course, the plan will be sympathetic to the wants of Barrington, as they are basically paying experts to tell the village what Barrington wants Briarcliff to hear. I was still shocked, however, to read that "this building, at least in its present condition, is not eligible for nomination to the State or National Register." This paid consultant’s reasoning is that the integrity of the structure has been compromised by additions and its overall poor condition. My understanding of the DEIS is that even the additions of the rear wing and the north wing are considered to be detracting from the original structure (as if somehow an addition made less than ten years after the hotel opened can be considered detracting). Yes, the new Library wing erected by The King’s College is ugly, but that can easily be removed.
I asked a few questions while I was at Village Hall, and was told by a clerk that the Village has not made any official decision on the plan submitted by Barrington, but is currently reviewing the plan. When asked if the Village was making an effort to save the Lodge, I was told that the Village is currently reviewing the plan. An answer I did get was that Barrington is under contract to purchase the site, and is not-quite-yet the official owner. font>
Based on new info I have read in the DEIS, I have updated parts of the main page and the main Photo Gallery pages, with new historical information. New photos added also.

November 4, 2000
Added the aerial view of Briarcliff Lodge, link is with the links to my photo pages. I called the village of Briarcliff Manor a few days back, and was told by a woman that Blue Lake still owns the property, and that the village has the DEIS in their hands, but has not commented on it. She said that it was a long ways to go before the Lodge is torn down. In other news, that RV is still parked down where the old maintenance barn was, but that did not stop me from making my first foray into the Science /Acadmeic Building. It’s quite a treat. The classrooms are mostly devoid of furnishings, save for an empty filing cabinet here or there, and a refridgerator in the Bio Lab. On the third floor, the greenhouse is a mess, with slides scattered about, and across the way is a lecture hall, with seating for maybe 150 students? On the first floor, open doors lead to rooms full of the boilers and generators and other such machinery. One classroom on the north end is filled with remnants of science labs.

October 26, 2000
I was at The King’s College old Briarcliff campus this morning, and things seemed strange. There are now "no tresspassing" signs scattered about the place, and an RV was sitting down by the site of the old maintenance barn, with an electrical wire connected to the little shack near the gas pump. I wonder if this is some kind of security, and if the place has been sold finally.

October 20, 2000
Harmony Hall suffered minor damage in a recent fire.A police officer making his rounds spotted flames about 10:25 pm September 30, and the fire was quickly doused. A visit two days later showed only exterior damage, and even then it was minimal. A blurb in the local Journal News reported that the village of Briarcliff Manor has accepted the DEIS of Barrington Ventures for its proposal to build 300 independent-living, 130 assisted-living and 30 skilled-nursing apartments on the site.

May 29, 2000
Added some notes on Squire Hall gymnasium, scroll down on the linked page to read. Also, I noticed some bathroom fixtures have been placed in the lobby of the Lodge. It appears that these are now being removed in an orederly fashion. Anything worth anything is being taken out by the dismantling corp. This reminds me of the sytematic looting and destruction of another great Hudson Valley landmark, a hotel of an era which preceeded Briarcliff Lodge: The Catskill Mountain House. I hope Briarcliff Lodge meets a better fate.

May 25, 2000

The Garlands of Briarcliff Manor, a state-of- the-art continuing care retirement community is proposed for the King's Collage campus. All existing structures will be torn down, including Briarcliff Lodge. Plans currently call for 460 units, meaning about 800 residents could be living there. The new buildings would be constructed in the "footprints" of the existing structures. At a recent informational meeting, it was stated that the Lodge would have to be torn down, because it was abandoned "for many years" (only since 1995 or so, yet was apparently fully powered until Fall 1999). Perhaps some of the stones would be re-used in the new buildings. A new water tower would be built in a new location.
To voice your displeasure, e-mail Barrington Ventures at, and tell them that any plans should include the preservation of Briarcliff Lodge. Also, call or write the Village of Briarcliff Manor, 1111 Pleasantville Road, Briarcliff Manor, 10510. #(914)-941-4800. Let them know they are making a mistake by allowing Briarcliff Lodge to be demolished.

April 8, 2000
In only two months since my first visit, I noticed changes. First, most of the junk that was inside the lobby has been removed, all the desks, chairs, etc. Then I noticed something really bad. The balusters on the main stairway have been removed. So I am very glad I have these photos to document the site before it changes even more. Toilets and sinks in a third floor bathroom have been smashed since my last visit. Also, the hallway at the west end of the seventh floor has been spray painted with grafitti. Having used the east staircase in the 1909 wing for the first time today, I found the original stairs exist here, marble steps and all. It was very windy inside the Lodge, doors slammed repeatedly in a spooky manner. We ran into some other explorers on our way out, and passed a few more on the property. It is apparently a popular hangout spot in nice weather, such as we had today.

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This page copyright © 2000 by Robert J.Yasinsac. All rights reserved. Reproduction or copying of these photos in any form is not permitted.