Estee purchase may be in works

GLOVERSVILLE – The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth is in serious discussions with a private development company to buy the Estee Commons property.

“It’s a company involved in managing residential properties,” said CRG President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese.

Reese declined to name the company, but said it may be interested in buying the three parcels that make up the former Estee Middle School complex.

The parcels include the 39-apartment Estee Commons building facing Fremont Street, the vacant adjoining main part of the old school at 90 N. Main St. and a three-acre parcel on Littauer Place.

“We’re looking to sell the entire property,” Reese said.

The CRG is the parent company of the Crossroads Incubator Corp., which owns the former school property.

Reese said the company interested in the Estee property is not from Fulton County but is based in New York state. He said he has been working closely with the company’s engineers and architects to possibly reach a deal.

Reese told the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee last week he has been providing “financial information” about the Estee Commons apartment complex to the unnamed developer.

He told supervisors the company is “considering making an offer” to buy the property.

The CIC previously was asking for $3.4 million for the property.

Since the conversion of the Fremont Street side of the building into apartments years ago, the rest of the plans for the old building haven’t happened.

The plan was to convert the rest of the downtown building facing North Main Street into 25 condominiums. That part of the project, known as Estee Commons II, would cost about $4.5 million.

Former CIC Executive Vice President Peter Sciocchetti was working on the project from 2008 to 2010, during which time he and former EDC Senior Vice President Jeff Bray became involved in a scandal involving more than $3 million in bonuses they received. The two men were fired in July 2010, and the Estee Commons II project never got off the ground.

CRG officials have since been trying to find a buyer for the property.

Meanwhile, Gloversville in March filed a lawsuit against the local economic development agencies in an attempt to recover $750,000 related to the Estee Commons development.

The lawsuit stemmed from a loan the EDC made to the CIC in the mid-2000s to redevelop the former school into the apartment complex.

The lawsuit claims the 1993 agreement was renewed and extended by Gloversville and the EDC “a number of times,” most recently on Jan. 3, 2005, until Dec. 31, 2010.

On Jan. 31, 2006, the EDC loaned the CIC $750,000 – a payment due on Jan. 1, 2011. The lawsuit claims the CIC is in default – a “breach of contract” with all those involved. The lawsuit states it would be “inequitable” to permit the EDC, CIC and CRG to retain the $750,000.

Reese told county officials last week CRG attorney Charles Tallent has prepared a response to the Gloversville complaint.

Michael Anich can be reached at