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Local News

March 16, 2013

Schoharie, Otsego vie for brewery

SCHOHARIE — Economic development specialists in Schoharie and Otsego counties are competing to attract the same craft beer maker, a company controlled by the people behind the Cooperstown Brewing and Butternuts Beer and Ale companies, officials revealed Friday.

Since late 2011, Schoharie County officials have been trying to pin down a final sale of the former Guilford Mills manufacturing facility in Cobleskill to Long House Holdings LLC, a sister company of Butternuts Beer, based in the Otsego County hamlet of Garrattsville.

On Friday, 15 months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration awarded a $175,000 economic grant to the project and hailed it for its job-creating potential, there was uncertainty over whether the brewery will ever move into the long-vacant factory.

A majority of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors on Friday gave Long House a deadline of Oct. 15 to close on the purchase of the Guilford Mills property, a 460,000-square-foot complex owned by the county. If the deal is not completed by then, the supervisors told Long House executive John Lawrence, the county would begin marketing the site to other parties.

During a lengthy presentation on why it has taken so long for Long House to complete the transaction, Lawrence did not mention that an Otsego County economic developer has — according to Schoharie officials — made overtures in an effort to shift the project to Oneonta.

The Otsego County economic developer, Carolyn Lewis, did not return a phone message from The Daily Star.

Sarah Blood, a Schoharie County economic development specialist, told The Daily Star that Lewis has been “very aggressive” in wooing Long House to move its operations to a “shovel-ready” site in Oneonta.

Lawrence, who told Schoharie lawmakers he wants their county to be the holder of a second mortgage for the Guilford Mills property, refused to comment on the status of the discussions with the Otsego County official.

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