Wal-Mart contractor eyes vacant Cobleskill factory building

A Wal-Mart Stores contractor is scouting the Mohawk Valley for a warehousing operation, and the form
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A Wal-Mart Stores contractor is scouting the Mohawk Valley for a warehousing operation, and the former Guilford Mills South Plant is emerging as a prime candidate.

Pyramid Brokerage Co., a Kingston commercial real estate firm, has been hired by Crate Services Inc. to find a 200,000-square-foot space in the Cobleskill area. Crate Services is a contractor for Wal-Mart Stores, which has distribution facilities in nearby Johnstown and Sharon Springs, according to documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Albany.

Crate Services and Pyramid representatives toured the former fabric mill Wednesday and left the facility finding it “meets the requirements” and wanting to “proceed lease negotiations immediately,” Pyramid Managing Director and Principal Broker Steve Perfit said in a Nov. 19 letter to mill owner Philip Rahaim.

According to the letter, Crate Services wants to occupy the facility around Dec. 1. It is also seeking the possible expansion of space to 400,000 square feet around Jan. 1.

Perfit said this afternoon that the Cobleskill Business Park deal is “in the preliminary stages” and that lease negotiations have not started. He said the former mill is one of a few available area facilities that fits his client’s needs, but another site is also being eyed.

The broker was upset about Crate Services’ interest in Cobleskill being made public, calling it a “very sensitive issue.”

“Loose lips sink ships,” he warned.

The prospect of such a large tenant offers promising news for Rahaim’s Cobleskill Business Park, which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in August. Cobleskill Business Park was supposed to file a reorganization plan today, but it instead asked for an extension. The company submitted Perfit’s letter as evidence it is “close to a lease which will allow it to propose a plan for a 100 percent repayment.”

Cobleskill Business Park filed for Chapter 11 protection two days before a deadline to pay $1.3 million in delinquent taxes or lose the property to a Schoharie County foreclosure action. Rahaim has spent the past four years rehabilitating the former lace mill, which closed in 2001, and it is now ready to take on tenants. In 2003, Rahaim bought the defunct mill, which consists of two buildings on a 39-acre parcel on Mineral Springs Road. At its peak, Guilford employed more than 500 workers.

“We had hoped we would have the deal or a similar deal done by today, but it’s just taking a little longer,” said Cobleskill Business Park attorney Richard Weisz.

Cobleskill Business Park marketer Michael Tersigni did not immediately return calls.

“I’ve caught wind of some of it,” Schoharie County Empire Zone Coordinator Julie Pacatte Rohan said of Crate Services’ interest in the former mill.

Rohan did not know how many people the crate management company would employ in Cobleskill. She said local economic development officials were not invited on Wednesday’s mill tour because Pyramid and Crate Services wanted to keep the leasing prospect confidential.

Cobleskill Business Park asked Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Littlefield to extend the deadline for filing a Chapter 11 disclosure statement and plan to Feb. 19. In its Chapter 11 petition, Cobleskill Business cited $5.95 million in assets and $1.98 million in debts.

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