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Despite bankruptcy filing, marketer touts former mill site

Despite bankruptcy filing, marketer touts former mill site

After news broke last week that Cobleskill Business Park LLC had filed for Chapter 11 reorganization

After news broke last week that Cobleskill Business Park LLC had filed for Chapter 11 reorganizational protection to stave off county tax foreclosure, marketer Michael J. Tersigni said he’s been busy reassuring potential tenants that the former Guilford Mills site is still “ready to go.”

The corporation, owned by Philip Rahaim Sr. of Westminster, Mass., filed April 28 with an Albany bankruptcy court to gain more time to refinance the site and close deals with potential users, Tersigni said Tuesday.

Showing off recent cleanup efforts and repairs to the 485,000-square-foot complex to a reporter, Tersigni said he is close to convincing two separate food-processing companies to lease parts of the building.

If it works out, one company projects about 150 jobs, the other about 50.

CPB is also working with state and county officials to seek grants and/or Empire Zone tax incentives, according to Tersigni and local economic development officials.

“[Having just] one tenant would take us out of bankruptcy,” said Tersigni, project manager for Pinnacle Realty Group, the marketing arm for Rahaim’s properties.

“We don’t have to hit a home run, we only need to bunt,” Tersigni said.

Filling even part of the building would allow the limited liability corporation to refinance the sprawling complex between Interstate 88 and Mineral Springs Road, he said.

Schoharie County initiated foreclosure proceedings against CPB last June to recover what is now about $1.3 million in back taxes and penalties.

The payment deadline was April 30.

“If you get a tenant, you can get refinancing and you can pay the taxes,” Tersigni said. He said the site carries only about $600,000 in a mortgage loan, while the property is at least a $3 million asset.

Tersigni questioned the county’s taxable values on the long-vacant property, but said no formal tax challenge has been made.

If companies agree to lease the site, “and if everybody agrees with the assessment, then we’ll pay the bill,” he said.

CPB and other Rahaim corporations prefer the potential cash flow of leasing, rather than outright sale, according to Tersigni.

Space is being marketed for about $4.25 per square foot, plus the cost of taxes, insurance and maintenance built into the “triple net” lease.

Over the past year, about 19 companies have looked at the complex, Tersigni said. Although hopeful the two food processors will be ready to fill most of the site “within 90 days,” Tersigni said he continues to show the buildings.

The site, straddling the Cobleskill village-town boundary, has been vacant since the former Guilford Mills lace-making company shut down in fall 2001, throwing about 500 people out of work.

Rahaim, who owns numerous distressed industrial properties around the country, acquired it in 2003.

Not much was done to improve the marketability until last year, because the owner was tied up working on other projects, according to Tersigni.

Since then, however, he said about $2 million has been spent to gut and repair the interior, and remove unneeded office areas, balconies and old equipment inside and out.

Now most of the building’s interior is wide-open, air-conditioned floor space. It’s ready for a business to move in and adapt to its use, said Tersigni, who’s been overseeing the marketing since December. For a few months before that it was being marketed by Stubblebine Realty, but they are no longer in the picture, he said.

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