Owner may relocate factory

Less than a year after the Mill Services wood-finishing factory in Cobleskill received special state

Less than a year after the Mill Services wood-finishing factory in Cobleskill received special state Empire Zone benefits status to update facilities in the village, the company is considering moving to Richmondville, company president Daniel Holt told town officials Tuesday.

Richmondville officials were enthusiastic about the idea.

“I would welcome it. We need manufacturing in the town,” Planning Board Chairman Harold Loder told Holt after Holt outlined “a two-to-five-year plan” to close the Cobleskill plant and build a new facility along state Route 7 in Richmondville.

No formal plans have been filed, but Holt told local officials he “was trying to get a feel about whether [they] wanted manufacturing to move in” before continuing his interest in the town.

The Town Board and the Planning Board are “very interested,” said town Supervisor John Barlow. “Anything we can do to help.”

Contacted after the meeting, village Mayor Mike Sellers said the idea was news to him.

“They have cheaper electricity in Richmondville,” Sellers noted. The low-cost municipal power company operated by the village of Richmondville was a major reason Holt cited for a move there.

How it might affect Cobleskill if the old factory closes down was unclear.

“I don’t know how it’s going to play out.” Sellers said.

Mill Services currently employs about 65 workers, according to Holt, up from about 38 when it was acquired by Eastern Forest Products in early 2007.

Holt said he expects to expand at the new site to “no more than 200 [employees.]”

Eastern Forest Products and its affiliate EFJ Inc. bought the 19th century factory in March 2007, as officials said it was on the verge of going out of business.

In January 2008, the state Empire State Development Corp. approved a $180,000 grant to the company.

As part of its planned $4,588,900 investment, including purchasing the property and new equipment, EFJ Inc. agreed to add 15 jobs by January 2011 to the 52 in existence when the deal actually closed last March.

The prime location Holt said he’s now considering is in an existing Empire Zone area near the Antique Barn business along Route 7, west of Warnerville. Holt envisions constructing a new steel building of about 80,000 to 100,000 square feet. The completed factory would likely measure about 120 feet wide by 700 feet long.

About 20 acres is under consideration. The current village factory sits on about 14 acres, he said.

Once a new plant is built, operations at the old plant, “would be moved over one section at a time,” Holt said.

“We would probably completely be moved in within four years,” he said.

The new plant would provide easier access for tractor-trailer loads of materials and products, Holt said.

Another property under consideration is near the Lancaster Development road-building company near the intersection of Route 7 and Podpadic Road. Both sites also have ready access to Interstate 88.

Holt said the company has been looking at several sites, but has not purchased property or options to buy.

Holt said the Antique Barn site was preferable, but he said the Podpadic area “certainly could be developed as an industrial park.”

The only caution, Barlow expressed was that access needs to be carefully planned because of speedy Route 7 traffic.

“After they flipped the sidewalks in Cobleskill,” Holt said, “if we can get in there, we can get in anywhere.” He was referring to a new paving and sidewalks now being completed on near the plant site on MacArthur Avenue that has limited access to MacArthur Avenue during construction.

Mill Services uses white pine boards that are “finger-jointed” together to form mouldings and trim for sale to building supply stores, including Home Depot and Lowes.

Categories: Schenectady County

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