Struggling TechCity owner Alan Ginsberg recently sold six buildings on the distressed former IBM site to Mio Marino, a Suffern-based clothing and accessories company, for more than $ 13 million.
The sale includes the old IBM buildings 52, 64, 43, 42, 33 and 51 which run alongside the CSX railway line at the east end of the site. The deeds accompanying the sale provided by the City of Ulster Supervisor, James Quigley, are signed by Alan Ginsberg and show the purchaser simply as the Kingston Realty Team with an address of 3 Park Avenue, Airmont NY. Sales closed on August 17. The price was $ 13,250,000 depending on the deeds. All of the buildings have exceeded their estimated values, Quigley said.
Quigley confirmed that Mio Marino was the buyer behind the LLCs. “He has a very sophisticated website with fashion and fashion accessories,” he said. “They sell products through Amazon, Walmart and Macy’s. The supervisor said he couldn’t determine what their sales numbers were through their website other than he was ranked 70,000 on Amazon. Mio Marino’s website lists belts, shoes, socks, winter clothing, men’s clothing and accessories, and women’s shoes, socks, winter clothing, and bags among the items it sells.
The city supervisor said he has yet to personally speak to buyers about their plans, but city officials are in the process of discussing a meeting where buyers will tell city officials what to expect. they do. “I don’t know what this company is worth or what it plans to do,” Quigley said.
He stressed that nothing will be allowed to be done in terms of building permits issued to new owners or improvements to buildings until the proposed use by the new owners is reviewed by the town planning council for s’ ensure it complies with city building codes. , zoning by-laws and other ordinances.
Quigley said the buildings were used by permanent tenants just two years ago, when Ginsberg could no longer pay the site’s electricity bill. Faced with a closure by Central Hudson, tenants took charge of paying electricity bills which took severe economic toll on them and many of them moved out.
More recently, they hosted a few temporary tenants, including the Kingston Area Soccer League and Dutchess Debs softball, who used the site as an indoor training center until last week, when building maintenance staff told them to move by early this week, according to Quigley. “They have nowhere to go now. I believe the new owners wanted the vacant buildings to do what they want to move the operations there.
Quigley said he has had conversations with owners of the Georgia-based Hull Property Group in Hudson Valley Mall about finding space for civic organizations in the mall which includes many large vacant spaces. . “They made a commitment to me to start negotiations with these organizations. But he warned that the ailing mall would not represent a permanent home either, as Hull plans to redevelop the mall. “They can’t make a commitment when they are considering redeveloping the site, which potentially includes tearing down and installing new things.”
Other parts of TechCity have been seized by Ulster County over the past two years, with Ginsberg owing the county more than $ 12 million in back taxes.
In 2020, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would begin an emergency partial clean-up of IBM’s former property and potentially hold Ginsberg personally responsible for its costs. In June, two people working with an asbestos removal company from former IBM buildings pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal and state regulations to prevent human exposure to asbestos in connection with work at the site in 2015-2016 where asbestos was removed using illegal methods. The Justice Department said in June that the site contained 400,000 square feet of regulated asbestos-containing material, as well as an additional 6,000 linear feet of pipe casings that also contained asbestos.
In 2019, Ulster County took possession of a large building known as the Enterprise West, formerly the Bank of America Building after foreclosure proceedings against Ginsberg. The building’s parking lot was recently used by a cultural / commercial initiative BluePrint, which hosted a series of summer art events at the site.
The building once housed 3,000 of the 7,000 employees IBM employed at the site before it closed for good in 1995.
Quigley said he traces TechCity’s troubles back to 1996, when IBM traveled to Ulster County with a plan to dispose of the property by cutting it into 27 plots, many of which reflected the footprints of the buildings. “The main plot was 98 acres which included parking lots, utility and green spaces as a common use plot,” Quigley said. “In the end, it looks like the common-use plot has the greatest potential value than anything else on the site.”
Quigley said the buildings at the site were built for one purpose to Big Blue standards and were difficult to subdivide. Today, three of the old manufacturing buildings are being demolished, he said.
He said that although the city is often accused of hindering business, he said part of the problem is simply that Ginsberg is making a bad investment and then not taking responsibility for paying property taxes and electricity bills. “The consequences are the county’s lockdown of the complex and the cessation of services from Central Hudson to Mr. Ginsberg.”