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Victory sues for demolition of old mill

Victory sues for demolition of old mill

'The present condition of the mill building presents a clear and imminent danger'
Victory sues for demolition of old mill
The main mill building in Victory is seen. A developer's plan to convert it into apartments has stalled.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

VICTORY -- The village of Victory is suing the owner of the village's historic former mill complex in an effort to force demolition of a building that village officials say is unsafe.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in the Saratoga County clerk's office in Ballston Spa, names property owner Riverview Realty of Albany, which is owned by developer Uri Kaufman. He bought the mill complex in 2008 with plans convert it into upscale apartments and other uses. Those plans have never come to fruition. The lawsuit also names Consolidated Hydro New York, which owns part of the property.

In court papers, an attorney for the village states the building -- known as Mill Building No. 8 -- is vacant and in disrepair, and the owners have been on notice to remedy the situation since at least April 2017 but have not acted.

The building in question is separate from the main mill on Gates Avenue, which is the most dominant feature of the small village.

Victory Mayor Patrick Dewey said there has been no recent activity at the site, despite Kaufman's plans to convert the main mill building into 98 apartments.

"Right now, he's saying the economy is not conducive," Dewey said. "I haven't spoken to him in some time."

Riverview Realty's Albany office did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit seeks a state Supreme Court judge's order for the building to be demolished. It also asks the judge to order that, if the village must do the demolition itself, the owners will be required to pay for the work.

"The present condition of the mill building presents a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety and health of the residents and inhabitants of the village of Victory and to the properties that adjoin said structure, such that the property constitutes a dangerous and unsafe building," the village states in court papers.

According to a report prepared for the village by Al Longtin, of Longtin Engineering in Ballston Lake, during an exterior inspection on March 8, it was observed that the building's roof has continued to collapse since a 2016 inspection, leaving one masonry wall unsupported and likely to collapse "in the near future."

The former Victory Specialty Packaging building complex, parts of which date to the mid-1800s, is the dominant landmark in the small village, located just outside Schuylerville. The mill was built on the banks of Fish Creek but has been closed since 2000; Kaufman acquired it from Saratoga County in 2008, after the property was seized for nonpayment of taxes.

Kaufman is the same developer who converted the Harmony Mills complex in Cohoes into luxury apartments, but he has been unable to follow through in Victory. He also had plans for a mill conversion in Amsterdam that was ultimately rejected by the city in 2011.

While his plans to convert the main mill into 98 upscale apartments have not garnered financing, Kaufman was before the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency as recently as 2015, saying he needed tax breaks to help make the plans a reality.

Dewey said the village has little choice but to hope Kaufman can follow through at some point.

"I don't see a line of people looking to own old mills," he said.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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