Buyer for Guilford?


By Jim Poole

The long-vacant former Guilford Mills building may have a buyer “fairly soon,” according to the real estate broker handling the Cobleskill property.
Interest in the 485,000-square-foot ex-factory is running high despite Schoharie County’s move to foreclose on it, broker Alan Ringuette said Saturday.
Phillip Rahaim bought the building, now called the Cobleskill Business Park, several years ago. County officials were frustrated last year in trying to market the building and that taxes had gone unpaid for three years.
Seeking to reclaim nearly $1.3 million in back taxes, the county started foreclosure proceedings late last year. If the taxes remain unpaid, officials could take ownership.
But both Treasurer Bill Cherry and Planning Director Alicia Terry said county ownership is a last resort. They contend that looming foreclosure forced Mr. Rahaim to action.
“It’s important to us to make something happen there,” Ms. Terry said.
Not disagreeing, Mr. Ringuette, who’s with The Stubblebine Company in Lexington, Massachusetts, said the owner is working on the property.
“He’s done a tremendous amount of work inside,” Mr. Ringuette said. “The work he’s done shows he’s interested in it. The place was a dump when he bought it.”
The business park is listed at $7.275 million, and interest in buying or leasing the building “is really good,” Mr. Ringuette said.
A lumber company and “a science company” both expressed interest, he added.
“We’re confident we’ll bring an industrial company to work with the local market,” Mr. Ringuette said.
Mr. Rahaim added loading docks to the building, and Mr. Ringuette indicated that it could become a large warehouse “where a company can lease space.”
He’s not too concerned about the foreclosure.
“The owner is working on it,” Mr. Ringuette said. “All will be taken care of, I’m told.”
Guilford Mills employed 560, and getting another business in the building is a key to economic growth, county officials believe. It was one of the first Empire Zone areas so designated last year.
“The good news is that a broker is acting on it,” said Zone Coordinator Julie Rohan. “There’s probably more interest in it than there was before.
“We’re in a holding pattern, anxious to see what happens. But we’ll do what we can to market it.”
As for the foreclosure, Mr. Cherry said Mr. Rahaim has until April 30 to pay. If he doesn’t, the county will ask the court “to give ownership to Schoharie County,” Mr. Cherry said.
If Mr. Rahaim pays between April 30 and the court date, the county will accept the money.
“We do that for everyone, from the owner of a little strip of land to the owner of Guilford Mills,” Mr. Cherry said.
“But once the judge’s pen touches the paper, he no longer can pay.”