Schoharie County supervisors decided on Friday to wait a month before issuing an ultimatum to principals of a brewery operation planned for the former Guilford Mills facility in Cobleskill.
The county Board of Supervisors’ Buildings and Purchases Committee sent a resolution to the full board calling for Long House Holdings LLC to put a $50,000, non-refundable deposit on the building’s purchase and take possession of the facility in June. Otherwise, the building would go up for auction.
But after discussion that included some supervisors warning about scaring away the potential purchaser, the board agreed to invite brewers to their March meeting and decide on the next step from there.
Esperance town Supervisor Earl Van Wormer III, chairman of the buildings committee, said the $5,000 that Long House Holdings put down on the deal is seen as “minuscule” and supervisors are looking for more of a commitment.
The county went through a similar scenario over the course of more than a year after some business people and educators pitched a fish hatchery for the facility, a proposal that never became reality.
“It’s cost the taxpayers in this county a lot of money. How long are we going to continue to sit on this building?” Van Wormer said.
Discussion Friday revealed the building’s condition continues to deteriorate and plans for the brewery business are seen as even more complicated due to missing infrastructure. There isn’t enough of a power supply to the building to accommodate any more businesses than a brewery — and Long House Holdings could face difficulty getting financing for development there if their business plan doesn’t include leasing out the space they don’t need in the 460,000-square-foot facility.
Officials said former owners ripped out all the electrical wiring and dismantled an electrical substation for scrap. A new substation could cost as much as $1.25 million and take a year to install.
A recent water pipe break and fear of contamination from pigeons that are finding their way in through holes in the roof are among other issues Long House officials have complained about, Sharon town Supervisor Sandra Manko said.
Board chairman and Fulton town Supervisor Philip Skowfoe said that up until now, the county has spent roughly $1.9 million on the facility, including school, village and town taxes and overdue taxes that were lost when it went to foreclosure.
Cobleskill town Supervisor Thomas Murray argued for patience, noting that the town and village of Cobleskill have both poured resources and time into the deal. He said a brewery is the right type of operation for the area.
“It’s the flavor we’re looking for,” Murray said.
Supervisors are expecting to hear from brewery officials at their March 15 meeting.