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You see an old mill; he sees luxury loft apartments

Harmony Mills developer seeks to line up more projects in area

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If you’ve got an abandoned mill in your town, chances are Uri Kaufman would like to turn it into a luxury apartment building. Kaufman first made his name in the Capital Region in 2000 when he acquired the historic Harmony Mills textile complex in Cohoes for $1.75 million. A self-described descendant of penniless rabbis, Kaufman said he was able to motivate investors to buy into his Harmony Mills project despite the fact he had little ...


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comments

localyokel
May 17, 2009
8:32 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

We'd all like to our upstate cities like Schenectady, Cohoes and Buffalo see an urban Renaissance. However, everytime I hear folks singing the praises of Harmony Mills, alarm bells go off in my head.

Has anyone from Amsterdam bothered to drive over to Cohoes and take a look at Harmony Mills. Pack your kids in the car, take them over to see Cohoes Falls and then you yourself should take a good look at Harmony Mills and the area nearby. I've been by there many times and have NEVER seen a car or a person come or go into that so called "high end" building. Half of the large mill building looks like total crap as does the large building across the street. It's looked crummy like that for a long time now. Why would anyone plunk down a serious chunk of hard earned cash for an apartment (a condo when it "goes condo") in Harmony Mills? I wouldn't. It makes no sense to me. There are a lot nicer places to call home in the Capital District for the same amount money.

All of this makes me wonder if Mr. Kauffman is legit. Has the City of Amsterdam had a good accountant and lawyer review the finances -- past, present and future anticipated -- of Harmony Mills? I have my doubts...about that and a lot of other things.

FritzDorr
May 17, 2009
8:46 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

WOW!!! BBL wouldn't do business with him again. They sued him because he didn't pay when they completed their contract ... on time too! I would get his money first, then negotiate terms and date of 100% completion.
What a wonderful man to come upstate to help the local economy. His market studies for the region are a reach at best.

localyokel
May 17, 2009
9:13 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

One more thought:

Perhaps Mr. Kauffman is REALLY in the business of creating tax credits for large corporations by leveraging federal money and PILOTS from local governments.

Just like banks sell mortgages, Mr. Kauffman sells the tax credit early in his restoration timeline and, therefore, makes his profit right then and there. He's not waiting ten years to turn a buck at Harmony Mills or any other project. How long does the IRS allow a large corporation to use the tax credit? Ten years? I'm curious to see if Mr. Kauffman really does buy back Harmony Mills from the Bank of America -- if the bank even exists in any recognizable form in 2010 or 2011. Bank of America has had to get a ton of bailout money from Tim Geithner to even stay afloat. It's a "zombie" bank. Obama really should be sending failing "banks" like Bank of America into bankruptcy court for a Chapter 11 reorganization.

So, what does all this mean for Harmony Mills when the Bank of America has no more use for the tax credit? What does this all mean for Mr. Kauffman's plans for Amsterdam and Canajoharie? Who knows?!!! Maybe somebody in Montgomery County government should figure that out.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12423557...

MomOfAngels
May 18, 2009
8:39 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I can't understand why the Gazette is giving this guy such positive coverage. Kaufman has had very little success and has told mounds of inaccurate facts and exaggerations. As stated above by both posters; Harmony Mills is not the success he claims and he never even finished it, he has both sued and been sued for non~ payments, he is unable to secure even the smallest amount of financing because he has is so over extended and lacks the success he touts to all the clueless area leaders. At this point he cannot even get federal money - I think they might finally be catching on. Too bad no else is.

Really disappointing reporting Gazette. When your average citizens can do more research and come up with more truths than your own reporters, you should not wonder why circulation is down, staff is laid off and people don't turn to you for real news. Your editorial the other day on this Chalmers project makes you look like one of two things : you skimmed the Recorder and decided to desperately write something about Chalmers to not be left out - or - you really truly want Amsterdam to continue on it's failing path.

If you decide you want some real investigative reporting, let me know, you have my email.

seeingitstraight
May 18, 2009
10:55 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I cannot believe the Daily Gazette would publish a one-sided, poorly researched piece of garbage like this. Did the reporter even see Harmony Mills for himself or did he just take the mayor and Uri Kaufman's word for it?
It's obvious the Gazette is riding the Recorder's coattails on this one.
Why isn't it being reported that Kaufman's own market study of the Chalmers building suggested he do the exact opposite of what he plans to do? Why isn't it being reported that the mayor is refusing to release information related to the project unless someone files a FOIL, and then charges them for it? Even aldermen have had to file FOILs for the information.
Why isn't it being reported that Kaufman hasn't met all the benchmarks in the agreement with Amsterdam?
This was nothing but a puff piece for Uri Kaufman. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

MomOfAngels
May 18, 2009
3:08 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Not giving the the Recorder very much much credit either though. They have also failed miserably to point out many examples of factual information abut Kaufman and his lies. And they never bad talk their highness, the Mayor. Only what she spoon feeds to them. Yeah, every third month, they might say a through her a little bit of flack, but that's usually after they get caught with their pants down.{By way of a local blog, or facts coming out that they just can't ignore.}

If people want the truth, they should take to reading local blogs - the papers that claim to serve this city, do not serve us well. They pretty much copy and paste National/Local Stories. The only thing they do report is the 'wonderful' things happening, I guess their reporters are all tied up with that. It's nice and informative, don't get me wrong. But don't waste our time with crap like this - or we won't waste our time reading your papers anymore.

seeingitstraight
May 18, 2009
3:21 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Momofangels, you couldn't be more wrong about the Recorder. Have you seen their editorials about the mayor and the Chalmers project, plus the tons of stories about Chalmers lately? I sometimes think the Recorder is actually out to get the mayor.

FritzDorr
May 18, 2009
8:56 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Myself and 90% of the voters in Amsterdam do not want the Chalmers bldg. to exist any longer. It's a constant reminder of the original carpetbaggers that came to the area and exploited the local work force.
Mr. Kaufman I'm sure isn't interested in the growth of the community but rather the fleecing of the taxpayer. My opinion is that he is the poster child for what is wrong with NY. Shifting tax dollars to his pockets and bailing out on projects is why I'm not in favor of his help.

As far as the recorder, I see the same overweight people in the paper claiming how they make a difference. My moms cat enjoys it though... specifically as he scratches his way through the bottom of it.

MomOfAngels
May 18, 2009
9:33 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I do 'seeitstraight' - my message got a bit jumbled up there, but it has taken the Recorder a long time to catch on to the wave they are now riding against the Mayor. I did state that every so often they do disagree with her, but I read it everyday and it has only been quite recently they have started to question her, Kaufman, and the whole Chalmers deal. Additionally they skim over many, many, many facts about him and still claim or point to his 'success' at Harmony Mills.

They certainly do not do investigative reporting. They are famous for leaving out the "important" things that get said in meetings. 95% of the time, they handle Her & the administration with kid gloves.

I could go on about many areas of their coverage of this Mayor and her administration - that have nothing to do with Chalmers - and how lacking it has been. I have been pleased to see their latest editorials regarding Chalmers- which is an exact reversal from the past year of praising the deal and Her about it - but it seems they are holding council almost solely responsible, instead of the misleading nature of our Mayor and Kaufman.

This is a horrific administration all around and I wish the Recorder, being the 'local' paper would have the guts to do some real reporting, like they have 'of late'. And if the Gazette is interested in covering our town, don't insult us with fluff like this or your other recent editorials/stories pertaing to us. Get the facts or don't bother printing it.

localyokel
May 19, 2009
3:03 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

"As far as the recorder...my moms cat enjoys it though... specifically as he scratches his way through the bottom of it."

LOL. Thanks for the chuckle, Fritz.

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