United Hospital has been closed for seven years, and the property shows all the signs of neglect, from overgrown landscaping to boarded-up windows.
But apparently the hospital still offers something to scavengers, who have been hitting the hospital at night for scrap metal, according to Port Chester police.
The former United Hospital property was purchased by Starwood Capitol for $28 million in 2006. Planners originally envisioned a mix of high-end apartments and retail shops at the site, complete with underground parking and redesigned access points splitting in- and out-bound traffic between Boston Post Road and High Street.
Investors proudly showed off plans in 2010 for a development they called "The Gateway." They were met with resistance and skepticism from Port Chester's newly-elected Board of Trustees, who were reluctant to approve more residential units while the school district deals with overcrowding.
Since then, development has been stalled, and the vacant property is patrolled by guards from Stamford-based SSC Corporate Security Services. Access points to the hospital grounds are blocked off by chain-link fences, and Port Chester police supplement the private security patrols by checking the hospital grounds.
One of the private security guards likely scared off scavengers last Friday morning, police say.
At 5:30 a.m., a guard found copper pipes on the grass near the Boston Post Road exit. The copper was "all neatly bundled in 15 piles of two to four pieces of piping," along with four bundles of copper wire, Lt. James Ladeairous said.
The copper was stripped from inside the building, and could fetch about $700 from local scrap yards.
Security guards also found three backpacks filled with tools, gloves and bottled water. Police believe the scavengers were interrupted by a guard making rounds, and ditched their tools before they were discovered.
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