Schoharie County Offering Local Community Benefit Incentives to Redevelop Former Public Safety Facility

The Board of Supervisors for Schoharie County and the Schoharie Economic Enterprise Corporation (SEEC) released a Request for Proposals (RFP) in March for the lease or sale to redevelop the former Public Safety Facility in Schoharie County. Local Community Benefit Incentives will be provided for job creation and capital investment at the site. Professional and middle-skill workers are available.

Schoharie County Board of Supervisors Chairman Federice and Building Committee Supervisor Weinhofer agree the property needs to be turned over to the private sector and written off the County books. “This building is costing the taxpayers every month. I don’t think that’s fair,” stated Weinhofer at the RFP building walk-through hosted on April 1, 2022. Another walk-through is slated for Tuesday, April 19th at 3:00 p.m., attendance is required to bid on the project by the end of the month.

There is urgency, market opportunity and leadership to make it happen. In 2014, the County had another property it was trying to repurpose and learned creativity was necessary.  One deal was negotiated for the County to hold the Bidder’s $2.5 million mortgage at 0% interest until the debt was paid in full. In addition, the County incentivized the same transaction by negotiating payment deferrals until the first tenant moved into the building or 12 months from the date of closing, whichever came first. Balloon payments were scheduled five years out to enable the proper investments into the facility and were reduced if the property was maintained in good condition, the agreed upon repairs were completed and the new owner met or exceeded the minimum job creation thresholds as established in the deal. Today, the Supervisors seem equally as eager to find the right buyer or lessee.

Located at 157 Depot Lane in Schoharie, the facility is 20 miles west of Albany and 65 east of Syracuse. This 6.7-acre site with approximately 80,000 sqft of block masonry buildings was decommissioned in 2019 after the development of a new facility in the County.

Envisioned as a mixed-use campus, “STEAM 157” is a loose concept to establish a business incubator or accelerator model known as Science Technology Engineering Agriculture & Math at 157 Depot Lane, Village of Schoharie, New York.

“We are flanked by significant state investments and university leadership in nanotechnology and clean energy clusters,” commented Julie Pacatte, executive director, SEEC. “With more than 1,000 middle-skill workers in the area, we believe specialized manufacturing could work here.”

Pacatte further expressed “resiliency” as key to Schoharie County’s economic rebuilding. On the heels of the international pandemic, animal disease is top of mind. There is an estimated 15,000 veterinarian shortage for US animals by 2030 (Mars Veterinarian Health, 2022). “Should we experience an animal epidemic that takes out a local herd, it undoubtedly would be devastating to our local economy.” Since FEMA approved its hazard mitigation plan in the early 2000s, Schoharie County has acknowledged the high risk of animal disease linked to its rural ag-centric economy.

Pacatte expressed the expanded STEAM 157 concepts could include an animal hospital, noting the nearest is 45 minutes away. “We are home to the best SUNY school for animal science at Cobleskill and nearby nationally ranked vet tech program at SUNY Delhi with the premier Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine just two hours away. The professional workforce pipeline is here.”

Still, the County is open to ideas. Potential projects will be reviewed with the Bidder’s vision and the region’s economic development plans in mind.  The RFP is available on the County website.

Schoharie County (pop 29,714) is on the edge of three different regions. Residents are advocates and consumers of the Capital City Albany Metro Region, significant contributors to the Mohawk Valley food processing, construction, materials and plastics manufacturing sectors and celebrate Appalachian Region tourism and cultural assets. Schoharie County is approximately three hours from New York City, Boston and other metropolitan areas.

Responses are due by April 29, 2022. A Pre-proposal walk-through of the building is required and scheduled for Tuesday, April 19 at 3:00 PM. During this walk-through, County and SEEC staff will review the RFP document and respond to questions regarding the requirements of the RFP, which will later be posted to the web page referenced above.

A copy of the RFP is available on the County website.

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