October 14 auction for Marantha mess


By Jim Poole

Considered by some to be a prime site for industry, the former Maranatha Family Center in Warnerville will go to auction next Wednesday, October 14.
Several companies are interested in the large gym, which has been approved for tax breaks under the START-UP NY program.
Maranatha is only one of the sites owned by Stella McKenna that will be auctioned. Her gym on Elm Street in Cobleskill will be auctioned at 11:30am at the Schoharie County office building, and the auction for the Warnerville site will follow, also in Schoharie.
A camp she owns in Otsego County will be auctioned there at 9:30am Wednesday, before the other sales.
The New York Business Development Corporation is holding the auctions to pay creditors.
The Maranatha property is thought to be the most attractive, and companies were looking at the site this spring.
They're still interested, according to Jason Evans, who handles the START-UP NY program for SUNY Cobleskill.
One interested party was to be a tenant for Green Recycling Solutions International at Guilford Mills before that deal fell through, Mr. Evans said.
"We know of another company that's interested, too," he added.
Blenheim Pharmacal was interested in the Warnerville property this spring but may not be now, according to Ron Filmer, director of the Schoharie County Industrial Development Agency.
A spokesman for Blenheim Pharmacal was unavailable for comment.
The auction seeks to net $1.6 million--or very close to it--to satisfy four creditors: the Business Development Corporation, Bank of Richmondville, NBT Bank and Tioga State Bank.
Bidders can't just offer a low number and hope it works.
"Bids must be commercially reasonable for the Business Development Corp. to accept them," said Randy Crapser, Bank of Richmondville president.
It's possible, he added, that the Otsego camp and Elm Street properties might not sell, but the Warnerville gym could bring in close to what is needed.
"But I don't see them accepting anything except for the whole amount," Mr. Crapser said.
Although he's followed the Maranatha process closely, Mr. Crapser said he hadn't heard of any high interest in the Warnerville gym, describing the situation as "real quiet."
But that's not unusual.
"You never know," Mr. Crapser said. "It might be that people knew it was tied up in bankruptcy, so they weren't ready to lay their cards on the table.
"And it could be that people you expect to be interested show up [at the auction] and turn out to be sightseers."
If the properties don't sell at the auction, the Business Development Corporation could market them, Mr. Crapser said.
And, he added, attention generated by the auction may lead to another buyer.
Interest rose in the spring because the three properties were to be auctioned April 14. At that time, Blenheim Pharmacal planned to expand into the Maranatha Family Center and create 18 jobs.
But Ms. McKenna filed for bankruptcy right before the auction, pushing back plans.
"I'm a bit surprised they could turn it around that quickly," said Richmondville town attorney JR Parshall, referring to Wednesday's auction.
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Supported by federal grants, Maranatha Family Center opened in Warnerville in October 2012. It replaced the Elm Street gym.
In September 2013, Richmondville Power and Light shut off the electricity to the Warnerville facility for non-payment of bills.
Although Ms. McKenna briefly moved her fitness and physical therapy business back to Elm Street, the Warnerville site remained closed. The Elm Street gym stayed open only a short time.