Mohegan tribe to redevelop historic insane asylum on 393-acre brownfield

The Norwich State Hospital was originally established as the Norwich State Hospital for the Insane, which was later shortened to Norwich Hospital. It’s located in Preston, Connecticut.

It opened its doors in October 1904, and though the number of patients and employees were drastically reduced, it remained operational until October 10, 1996.

Norwich State Hospital was a mental health facility initially created for the mentally ill and those found guilty of crimes by insanity. Throughout its years of operation, however, it also housed geriatic patients, chemically dependent patients and, from 1931 to 1939, tubercular patients.

The hospital, which sits on the banks of the Thames River, began with a single building on 100 acres of land, and eventually expanded to over thirty buildings and 900 acres at the peak of its operations.

The central 70-acre portion, including the hospital, was listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

On January 14, 2017, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority has revealed plans to redevelop the site. Redevelopment costs are estimated to be between $200 million and $600 million, and would include outdoor and indoor entertainment attractions, a large performing venue, time share units, retail, an RV park and marina. The plan includes restaurant space, a convenience store and gas station.

With up to $600 million in possible development, we will stimulate growth, drive new business and help strengthen the local economy, solidifying Mystic country in southeastern Connecticut as a top tourism destination,” Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said.

The 393-acre brownfield site has been vacant since 1996, and was sold by the state to Preston in 2009 for $1.

Since then, $20 million, including $9 million from the state, has been spent cleaning up the property and demolishing dozens of buildings to make way for new development.

See full article by Kathleen McWilliams in the Hartford Courant.

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