Schermerhorn: My offer doesn’t accept hockey & Global contracts but pledges to keep it an arena

By Gordon Woodworth, Chronicle News Editor

Developer Rich Schermerhorn told The Chronicle Tuesday that his $750,000 offer to buy the Glens Falls Civic Center remains in place, but that it doesn’t meet the city’s requirement to honor existing contracts with the Calgary Flames hockey team and building operator Global Spectrum.

“My offer is to buy it cleanly, without an obligation to outside contracts, no contingencies,” Mr. Schermerhorn said.

He is offering, though, to include “a deed restriction that it would continue to be operated as an arena.”

Mr. Schermerhorn said he understands why the City wants to make a sale contingent on inheriting the hockey and management contracts, but he said in order for him to make it work, he couldn’t have those obligations hanging over his head.

“There are other contracts in place, too,” he said, with vendors and labor unions, that he said he has become aware of since making the $750,000 purchase offer.

“My interest is still strong…and I understand the City trying to be made whole. But I think they would be further ahead if someone like me steps up. They need to get what they can,” Mr. Schermerhorn said.

Monday’s public auction, with a $1.5-million minimum, yielded no bidders or bids. The City is now accepting sealed bids, no minimum, to Friday, Sept. 12, at 11 a.m.

Mr. Schermerhorn said the Flames get a large percentage of ticket sales and concessions in its Civic Center contract.

“I’m not blaming the City at all for making that deal,” he said. “But any buyer could be under water for up to five years.”

Urges: List it with a broker

The Chronicle asked Mr. Schermerhorn what he would do to facilitate sale of the Civic Center. He said, “If it were me, I would list it with a real estate broker. Once a property gets an MLS listing, a lot more people know about it. I think there are a lot of people who don’t know the Civic Center is for sale.”

Schermerhorn: I’m not the type to partner with Civic Center Coalition

Asked if he would consider joining efforts with the newly formed “Coalition to Save Our Civic Center,” Mr. Schermerhorn said coalition member Bill Mason stopped in to see him after Monday’s auction.

“We had a nice talk, but I told him I’m not the type who likes to partner with people. I would want to own it solo. Things get done much faster that way.”

The Flames have a three-year deal plus two option years, but they can quit the deal after the first and second years.

Some observers believe the American Hockey League will form a western conference to appease NHL teams on the West Coast. If it happens, Calgary would likely move its AFL affiliate there.

The Global Spectrum management contract runs through 2016, Mayor Jack Diamond has said.

Copyright © 2014 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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