Prospective bidders were disappointed and surprised to learn Thursday that next week’s scheduled auction of the Schenectady Armory was canceled.
Brad Maione, spokesman for the Office of General Services, said Commissioner John Egan made the decision after new possibilities arose for disposing of the property.
“Opportunities have been presented since we began our open houses and he’s going to take some time and consider those,” Maione said.
Maione would not discuss those possibilities. He said OGS could still put the armory up for auction. He is not sure of the timetable to decide the property’s future, possibly in the next 30 to 60 days.
An auction was to be held on Tuesday for the 65,000-square-foot facility at 125 Washington Ave. The minimum bid was set at $500,000.
Chuck Sheifer, chief of the OGS bureau of land management, said previously about three dozen people attended four open houses.
One of those people was former Albany Armory general manager Jim Coyne, who had expressed interest in working on the redevelopment.
Coyne said perhaps state officials were concerned about a recent auction of the Glens Falls Armory that drew no bidders. However, Coyne said that there would have been interest here.
“I know that there are prospective bidders that had put a lot of money and investment to get the people in there to look at it,” he said.
Another prospective bidder, James Commarto, who used to own James’ Ringside Gym, speculated that maybe the state got a better offer.
He also thought that maybe the county wanted it for a new courthouse or for Schenectady County Community College.
County Legislator Gary Hughes, D-Schenectady, said that is not the case.
“I think we have a perfectly good courthouse solution in the TrustCo bank property,” he said.
The county wants to consolidate the city, county, state surrogate and family courts into the County Office Building and existing courthouse and move its county offices into the former TrustCo building at the corner of Erie Boulevard and State Street.
Hughes, who also serves on the SCCC Board of Trustees, said there has not been any renewed interest in using the property.
College officials have said previously the cost to make upgrades to the heating and cooling system and make it energy efficient is prohibitive.
Metroplex Development Authority Director Ray Gillen said in September that there is an active effort to redevelop the property and several prospective buyers. He said Thursday that there are a number of options for the property but he could not comment on specifics.
Regarding the Glens Falls Armory, Maione said OGS is going to seal up the building and try again in the spring.
Lowering the minimum price is one option being considered.
Maione added that the interest in the armories has varied. A couple weeks ago, the Rochester Armory sold for almost $1.5 million.
The Office of General Services also announced that two previously announced auctions will remain as scheduled. The auctions for 79 Ryckman Ave., located in Albany, and 150 North Brandywine Ave., located in Schenectady, will take place on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Stockade Building at Schenectady County Community College.
The minimum bid for the Albany property is $150,000 and $100,000 for the Schenectady property.
The properties are no longer needed by the Office of Children and Family Services.