By Jill Nagy
The last vestige of General Electric Co.’s manufacturing presence in Washington County will soon disappear when work is completed demolishing the last building of the manufacturing plant on Route 4 in Fort Edward.
The plant in Fort Edward was built in 1942 and used for manufacture of motors and, later on, industrial capacitors. It was also the source of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) used in the manufacture of the capacitors. General Electric recently spent several years and millions of dollars to dredge those PCBs from the Hudson River.
A nearby manufacturing site in Hudson Falls has also been stripped of its buildings. That operation was discontinued several years ago and the building was removed last year.
GE announced in September 2013 that it would close the Fort Edward plant and move operations to Clearwater, Fla. That move was completed in 2016.
Since then, the company has been removing equipment from the building and severing its connections to the utility infrastructure. The building will be taken down piece by piece, wall by wall, according to General Electric spokesman John Brodt, and the pieces will be placed in landfill facilities.
He said that the company hopes to begin deconstruction work in the fourth quarter of 2018 The project is expected to require between eight months to a year to be finished. A contractor has not yet been chosen for the work. The company plans to own and maintain the property for the foreseeable future, Brodt said At this point, there are no plans to sell the land.
The main activities after deconstruction will be ongoing environmental remediation work, both in Fort Edward and in Hudson Falls, he said. That work has been going on for years.
Brodt said that the main reason for tearing down the building is that it is antiquated and costly to maintain and it is unlikely that a buyer would want it.
“This is the safest course of operation,” Brodt said. While there will be some savings in real property taxes after the removal of the building, that was “not at all” a consideration in deciding to tear it down, he said.