Numerous Schoharie lawmakers told Lawrence they’ve never consented to having the county hold a second mortgage on the property, and indicated they see too much risk in putting the county in that position.
Lawrence, noting the challenges the project is having attracting financing, responded that without the second mortgage, the chances his company will follow through and purchase the Guilford Mills site would be reduced to 10 percent.
Responding to the board’s reluctance to be responsible for a second mortgage, Lawrence did not rule out the possibility that Long House will simply walk away from the Guilford Mills deal.
“If we don’t have backing, we’ll have to go where we have backing,” he said.
After hearing Schoharie County Treasurer William Cherry raise questions about the extended delay by Long House in positioning itself for a real estate closing, some lawmakers, led by Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone, signaled they were ready to kill the entire deal.
But Jefferson Town Supervisor Daniel Singletary argued that without any other potential suitors for Guilford Mills, it made more sense to give Long House the extension until Oct. 15 so it can get its financing plan in order. With supervisors using the weighted voting system, the extension was approved, 2,072 to 747.
Lawrence said later he considered the extension “fair and equitable,” though he acknowledged the board’s lack of enthusiasm for backing a second mortgage could pose problems for the project.
Cherry said that the Guilford Mills property has been valued at nearly $4 million. The pending sale agreement calls for Long House to purchase it for $2.5 million, though a significant amount — up to $1.5 million — would be returned to the company based on the number of workers it hires. The deal calls for the company to get $15,000 for each job it creates after the first 10, with the cap for the total it could receive set at $1.5 million.