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April 13, 2013

Sharon Springs plan back on track, Korean investor says

SHARON SPRINGS — A long-dormant plan to restore a complex of white-sulfur mineral baths and a spa resort is back on back on track after a Korean businessman nailed down a new financing package, his spokesman told The Daily Star Friday.

Aiden Han, spokesman for Q Sung Cho, said Cho will meet with village officials next week to assure them that the financing package for the multimillion-dollar project has been approved by a New Jersey bank. He said he also will assure them that the investment group behind the project is committed to completing the renovation of the Imperial Baths, the Hotel Adler and other structures.

“We are moving forward now faster than expected,” Han told The Daily Star in a telephone interview.

But village officials, after waiting for nearly seven years for action, say they are running out of patience. They say they have begun discussing the possibility of taking the properties by eminent domain because they fear the vacant buildings to which Cho holds title are beginning to pose a risk to the public safety.

“The onus is on them to show us something we can believe in,” said Doug Plummer, the deputy mayor of this historic Schoharie County village, which straddles U.S. Route 20 about 25 miles northeast of Cooperstown.

It was seven years ago when Cho’s company, Sharon Springs Inc., bought the vacant 150-room Hotel Adler along with the Imperial Baths and other structures for $750,000.

Han said Cho is convinced that most of the buildings, including the Imperial Baths and the Hotel Adler, can be rejuvenated and turned into a high-end resort offering full spa services, mineral baths and overnight accommodations. He said it will attract people from all over the world, especially Asian business people already familiar with the curative properties of sulfur baths.

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