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New strategy may bring life to long abandoned property

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Albany/HV: New strategy may bring life to long abandoned property
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Driving through the Mohawk Valley on the Thruway or I-88, the roads is littered with abandoned buildings. Barry Wygel has the story of how officials in Schoharie County are working to bring new life into one of them in Cobleskill.

COBLESKILL, N.Y. -- Once a crown jewel of the town, employing 600 people, the now abandoned Guilford Mills factory in Cobleskill has a chance for a fresh start.

"This was a unique property. It's 460,000 square feet of occupy able space," said William Cherry, Schoharie County treasurer.

Schoharie County, which took possession of the property in 2009, has been unsuccessfully trying to sell the property, which is valued at about $3 million.

"I compare it to Crossgates Mall in Albany. If Crossgates Mall was empty, there was no stores occupied, the parking lot was empty, the grass was growing up through the blacktop, that property would not only have a very low market value, but it might be impossible to find a buyer," said Cherry.

The realization of that analogy has caused Cherry and other county officials to think outside the box.

"My idea is to break the facility up into more manageable pieces. There is a great market for lease spaces of 40,000 to 60,000 square feet," said Cherry.

"I think it would be a great asset for our tax base, for the village, the Town of Cobleskill and the entire county," said Phil Skowfoe, chairman of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors.

Even though the weeds are overgrown and there are cracks in the pavement, the building remains in largely ready to move in condition. The county says there is still a lot of potential.

"We're going to bring jobs into the area. We're going to get the building reoccupied once again," said Cherry.

"I think our treasurer has come up with an excellent idea to market it and I hope it moves forward," said Skowfoe.

For the plan to work, the county will have to invest some money in the short-term to transform the building into a long-term success.

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