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Richmondville Town Board Unanimously Approves Maranatha Waiver Request, Wu Keeps Options Open

Written By Editor on 12/18/13 | 12/18/13


Just weeks after negotiations broke down between the Town of Richmondville and potential Maranatha investor Da-Lai Wu due to the municipality's stringent requirements that Mr. Wu had to meet in order for Town Supervisor Richard Lape to sign a waiver request to Empire State Development, it appears a deal may occur after all.

Despite publicly announcing that he was taking a step back from the project, Mr. Wu continued to pursue a potential deal - reaching out to local banks and state officials - while the facility's owner, Stella McKenna, was served with notice of foreclosure and seizure of equipment following years of tax delinquency and a chronic failure to regularly pay bills.

The result of which was a unanimous vote last Thursday evening by the Richmondville Town Board, on recommendation of Town Attorney Marvin Parshall Jr., to authorize Supervisor Lape to sign the necessary waiver request that both satisfies the Restore New York grant requirements and paves the way for Mr. Wu to take ownership of the $5.3 million project.

However, it still remains to be seen whether Ms. McKenna, who Mr. Wu has offered a deal to in exchange for her sub-leasing the property, decides to step aside now and allow Maranatha to reopen in a matter of one to two weeks, or if she will ride the storm to the inevitable end result - delaying any potential opening until mid-2014 at the earliest estimates.

Mr. Wu, who has planned a series of renovations upon his potential ownership - including the installation of hardwood floors on the dance and exercise room floors, plastic grid non-slip floors in the shower area and the addition of TRX and boxing equipment in the weight room - told the Schoharie News that he expects everything to be completed within the next week, or else he is scrapping all current plans and putting a down payment on a property in Middleburgh.

But with the Christmas holiday fast approaching, which Mr. Wu plans to spend working on opening a training facility somewhere within the county, gym members and residents alike in Richmondville might receive the gift of an occupied and operational Maranatha Family Center, allaying fears of another failed Guilford Mills and restoring a pivotal business in the Town's financial framework if all works out.
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