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13 Years Later: County Still Looking to Find Buyer for Guilford Mills

Written By Andrew Hartnett on 4/1/14 | 4/1/14

Before closing in November of 2001, the Guilford Mills building on Mineral Springs Road in Cobleskill, New York was home to more than 500 jobs. Since closing on the eighth of that month, those jobs have not been replaced, and the building has sat vacant.

The plant, and the parcel of land on which it sits, is owned by Schoharie County. This means that, at least for the time being, it is fully the county’s responsibility to find new businesses to occupy the space. To this point, the county has found little success on this front. The most recent possibility came last year when Butternuts Beer and Ale, a company based west of Schoharie County in Garratsville, New York, expressed interest in turning the facility into a brewery. However, the deal fell through when Butternuts failed to meet certain purchase deadlines and, on October 15 of 2013, the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted not to extend the Butternuts purchase contract.

Stewart’s Shops was rumored to show interest in the building to open a creamery. According to Schoharie County treasurer Bill Cherry, though, Stewart’s has yet to formally express interest. Cherry did say that both he and the Schoharie County realtor have been in talks with Stewart’s Shops.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the property was used as a temporary home for some of the County facilities that had been damaged in the flood. Notably, the Schoharie County Department of Motor Vehicles used the facility for a short time. Since the parcel is owned by the County, it is entirely possible that it could be used for County purposes in the long term, but Cherry said that the County’s mission is for the building to be occupied by a private sector firm.

The likely cause of Schoharie County’s difficulty in marketing the building is its size. When Guilford Mills operated the complex, the 460,000 square foot building was used in the production of consumer fabrics, an industry which Guilford exited in 2001 to focus on the performance textiles and automotive market. It is unlikely, Cherry says, that Schoharie County will find another company in need of that much space, or willing to invest the three million asking price.

To combat this, the County is considering subdividing the property into sections of around 100,000 square feet or less. According to Cherry, this size industrial space makes the building much more marketable, although it would require the interest of multiple companies to fill. Cherry also said it is possible, once the entire building is occupied, that the County could sell the parcel to an outside investor.

“Our goal is to create new jobs in Schoharie County,” said Cherry of the plant. The goal number Cherry quoted was the 500 lost on Guilford Mills’ closing, whether they all come from one company or segmented from different companies. As we approach the thirteen year mark for the building being unoccupied, Schoharie County residents are left to wonder if the building will ever again be home to any jobs at all.
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Administrator said...

This article raises the question: why didn't Schoharie County hold the mortage on the property so the Butternuts deal could have been completed?

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