Schoharie County hopes to lure firms, jobs to old mill

New interest in the Guilford Mills facility is seen as a positive sign in Schoharie County where job

New interest in the Guilford Mills facility is seen as a positive sign in Schoharie County where job creation is becoming a greater focus.

Impatient with a slow-moving proposal aimed at raising fish in the South Grand Street site, the county’s Board of Supervisors earlier this month rejected a request from Intelligent Fish to extend an option to buy the building.

But an offer from an Otsego County beer brewery and other calls from smaller firms that could use portions of the buildings may shine some hope on the goal of adding jobs there, Cobleskill Supervisor Thomas Murray said.

Representatives from the Garrattsville-based Butternuts Beer & Ale company toured the facility recently to consider its potential as another brewery, Murray said Friday.

The company suggested as many as 30 jobs could be created but improvements needed at the facility could cost an estimated $2.1 million, which the company could get financing for, he said.

There’s no solid offer or deal yet, and Murray said the company may ask Schoharie County to be a partner in the effort by minimizing the cost of a project. That could entail letting the company upgrade and use the facility without having to purchase it outright.

A message left at Butternuts Beer & Ale was not returned immediately Friday.

Murray said the company representatives estimate they could create 30 jobs at the outset and as many as 60 in four years. He said other firms including a start-up Internet company are calling about the building, but they don’t require all of it.

“We have quite a long list of people who didn’t need that much space,” he said.

Were a major business to take up residence there, the smaller firms might present an opportunity to segregate portions of the building as lease or rental space, he said.

Efforts to market the facility, on South Grand Street in the village, began in 2009 when the county took title to the two buildings amounting to 460,000 square feet on 40 acres. It’s been vacant since 2001 when textile manufacturer Guilford Mills shut down, shedding roughly 500 jobs.

Intelligent Fish made an offer last year with the intention of making an indoor fish farm, but the proposal languished until the county board decided to move on.

Some that have called believe the county is desperate to unload the building, but that’s not the case, Murray said.

“If we wanted to do that we would just auction it off.”

The goal at this point is to fill it with jobs for residents, he said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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