While some Schoharie County officials are openly skeptical about the ability of Butternuts Brewing Co. to purchase the Guilford Mills industrial site in Cobleskill, a point man for the project said Thursday he’s optimistic the company can close on the deal by its Oct. 18 deadline.
“That is our absolute goal at this point,” said John Lorence, a representative of Butternuts and its spinoff company, Longhouse Holdings. “We’re going for it.”
The deal nearly collapsed this summer when the project developers — who want to take over the 460,000 square foot site to brew craft beer there — unsuccessfully asked the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors to have the county hold a second mortgage on the property because they were having difficulty lining up financing.
A majority of the supervisors said they found such an arrangement too risky for the county, and gave the company until one week from today to close on the purchase. If the deal is not completed, they said, the county would shop the property — one of the largest industrial sites in the region — to other businesses.
Schoharie County Planner Alicia Terry said she is working with Butternuts Brewing with an eye towards qualifying the company for the new Start-Up N.Y. program touted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Under the plan, the company would work with the State University of Cobleskill to develop programs that would be linked to the curriculum of the college. That could make the company eligible for the tax-free zones that Cuomo wants to set up at college campuses, Terry said.
However, no regulations or guidelines for Tax Free New York have yet to be issued by the Cuomo administration, Terry said.
The program has been knocked by the conservative Tax Foundation as a gimmick. The organization this week ranked New York’s business climate as the worst in the nation and suggested the state focus instead on broad-based tax reform.