June 25, 2012


Buckbee site nearly ready

Reuse study will be used to market plant ahead of auction

BuckbeeBob Ellis/staff photographer
The former Buckbee-Mears factory sits empty behind padlocked gates off Kellogg Road. The Bank if India, which owns the site, is planning to auction the property in the fall. The site has undergone an $8 million cleanup since 2007, which is almost complete.

Staff Reporter

A federally funded study of the former Buckbee-Mears facility shows the vacant 50-acre Kellogg Road site is almost ready to be used again after years of pollution problems.
The Environmental Protection Agency paid for the $125,000 study, which should be finished this week, said Mack Cook, the city’s director of administration and finance.
The study says the site has some key assets, including an electric substation, a rail spur, a wastewater treatment plant and ample space for warehousing and manufacturing.
It still has some pollution problems that need to be addressed by a new owner.
The manufacturing building will be ready for reuse after mold remediation and demolition and removal of interior walls, the study says. The warehouse is ready for storage or light-industrial use.
The facility has a 180,000-square-foot manufacturing building and a 30,000-square-foot warehouse.
Cook said the EPA’s reuse study is another step in the process of getting a new owner for the facility. He said the study will be used to market the site.
Cook said everyone involved with the facility wants to see a new owner.
Cook said the Bank of India will market the site. If the bank cannot sell it, then local officials from the city and county Industrial Development Agency will get a chance to sell it.
“If nothing is done, it will become a blighted piece of property and the city will have to cope with it,” Cook said.
In May, the council approved a settlement agreement to give the Bank of India authority to sell the abandoned Buckbee-Mears facility on Kellogg Road in Cortland.
The agreement gives the bank a chance to recoup some of its losses on the site while guaranteeing the city at least $302,000 in any potential sale.
The city is owed $1.2 million in back taxes on the property through 2009. The city has the right to foreclose on the property if the bank does not sell it at auction this fall.
Buckbee-Mears produced television aperture masks at the site from the 1974 until 2004. International Electronic Devices acquired the site in 2004 but it quickly went into foreclosure, leaving behind thousands of gallons of heavy metals and chemicals.
Those pollutants contaminated the site.
Cook said the goal is for the bank to bring the Kellogg Road facility to auction in September. IDA, city and EPA officials gave the bank the right to sell the property, a process that will come with about $150,000 in legal, marketing and other costs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has spent more than $8 million to clean up the site since 2007.
Cook said the city and the Cortland County Industrial Development Agency have been working with the EPA and the Bank of India to get a new owner for the site.
He said ignoring the problems at the site would have led to further deterioration and vandalism, and would have hurt the city’s image.
“The building is not going to improve by itself,” Cook said.


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