6 propose plans for old Guilford


By Jim Poole

Six proposals came in as responses to Schoharie County’s September request for plans for the vacant Guilford Mills plant.
Now, the county’s Economic Development Grow Team is waiting for the six respondents to flesh out their ideas by an October 15 deadline.
County officials sent about 100 requests for proposals for the 500-square-foot Cobleskill factory to prospective buyers one month ago.
That marketing effort came after the county took possession of the factory in a tax foreclosure settlement.
County Economic Developer Jody Zakrevsky hoped for more than six letters of intent, but he’s satisfied that those who did made serious inquiries.
Three responses were from energy-related companies, two are from large developers and one is from a design and planning firm representing several companies, Mr. Zakrevsky said.
None are local, he added.
Ideally, the county is looking to sell the plant for more than the nearly $2 million in back taxes owed by the former owner, Phillip Rahaim, Mr. Zakrevsky said.
“We also want to see a commitment to permanent jobs, with multiple tenants and multiple users,” he added.
The county is also looking for similar RFPs for adjacent land owned by the Industrial Development Agency. The acreage is zoned commercial mixed-use.
Guilford Mills closed in September 2001, putting more than 500 out of work. Since then, officials have been leery of an all-the-eggs-in-one-basket scenario with another large company.
Also, with the economy in recession, it’s unlikely that one company would fill the huge building, so Mr. Zakrevsky sees companies buying parts of the plant and sharing the property as likely.
“One of the drawbacks is that large companies are shying away from it,” he said. “They feel it’s way too big for them to get involved with.”
The more extensive requests for proposals due the 15th will include detailed information about companies’ qualifications and what type of work they plan.
The county tried to help market the property while Mr. Rahaim was the owner. Now, as the sole owner, the county is in a better position to work with prospective buyers, Mr. Zakrevsky said.
“We in a position to select one or several to work with,” he said. “If they want one of the buildings or part of the property, we can work with that. We can subdivide.”
Although the county is expecting more detailed RFPs from the six respondents, it will accept other proposals by the October 15 deadline, Mr. Zakrevsky said.
If it turns out that none of the proposals appear workable, the county would look at other options, including marketing the properties nationwide or dividing them into smaller sections for leasing or sale, Mr. Zakrevsky said.