Von Hasseln sees opportunities after FGI closure, highlights other progress

There is a “glimmer of hope” that another manufacturer may be interested in purchasing Fiber Glass Industries’ Edson street plant, according to Community and Economic Development Director Rob von Hasseln. The director outlined potential opportunities he is pursuing in light of the closure of Fiber Glass Industries at last Tuesday’s common council meeting. He also gave an account of several other economic development projects he is working on.

Von Hasseln said his first concern with FGI’s closing was the employees and had taken the initiative to query other area businesses such as Mohawk Lifts and GE Power Systems for information on job openings and had forwarded the information to FGI’s personnel department.

He said that he had also talked with a local representative of a European manufacturer who was looking for plant exactly like FGI’s Edson St. facility.

“I’ve gotten plans off of FGI, got them copied, gave them to the representative, they’re in Europe now, they’re going to make a decision whether they’re going to go a step further,” said von Hasseln.

He also said another company may be looking at purchasing FGI’s Shuler St. facility and continuing to operate it as a fiber glass weaving and manufacturing site. In that potential scenario, some employees might be able to keep their jobs. He also said that when talking with developers looking to convert old buildings to residential apartments, many had asked about the Shuler St. building.

Other projects that von Hasseln reported on included:

  • Mohawk Lifts wants to expand its operations in Amsterdam and is looking to buy two city owned properties on Eagle St. and tear the buildings on them down in order to create parking lots for their employees. Von Hasseln said he would be presenting a proposal for the project shortly.
  • The Capital Region Land Bank is looking to establish a system to share information on absentee landlords across the region. The hope is to involve the State Attorney General’s office in prosecuting property owners who frequently violate codes in multiple municipalities.
  • A reputable firm is interested in purchasing Carmel’s diner on East Main St. Von Hasseln said the firm had already inspected the building and hoped the deal would close soon. He said the same firm may also make a bid for the nearby DiCaprio’s diner.
  • The new owners of the old Best Value Inn was awarded $1 million in state aid in May to offset the expected $5 million cost to rehabilitate the building. Von Hasseln couldn’t say when the hotel would reopen.
  • The Preservation League of New York is looking at the Clock Tower building on Prospect St. as being a “test bed” for an initiative to get tax credits for rehabilitation costs and market the building to the “high tech triangle” of Utica, Malta and Albany.
  • On the suggestion of Alderman Ed Russo, Von Hasseln will be pursuing the prospect of attracting a bottled water company and will be attending the Northeast Bottled Water Association convention next month.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.