ALBANY An Illinois real estate company has purchased the former Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Albany for $8.5 million, deed records show.
The court records say the transaction between Cooper and Hilco Real Estate LLC of North Brook, Ill., doing business as HRE Albany LLC, was completed Sept. 29.
Ray Kaye, executive vice president of Hilco, confirmed the purchase Wednesday and said that the company is already working with prospective tenants.
"We did purchase that facility and intend to keep Cooper on as a tenant in a portion of the building for the foreseeable future," Kaye said. "In addition, we're looking for one or more tenants to occupy most of the remaining building."
Ted Clem, president of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, said the EDC was aware of the pending transaction but that the details of the transaction would have to come from either Hilco Real Estate LLC, the parent company of HRE Albany LLC., or Cooper.
Cooper has largely marketed the massive, 1 million-plus square-foot facility on its own since the company announced in 2008 that it would be closing the majority of the plant — sending 1,300 people to the unemployment line and setting a new low water mark in the area's struggling unemployment and poverty situation at the time.
According to its website, Hilco is a global company who works with corporate clients to "reposition and restructure," real estate holdings to improve cash flow.
"Our clients include retail businesses and industrial concerns that may be closing under-performing facilities, consolidating as a result of a merger or acquisition, expanding into new markets, or streamlining their organization. We serve healthy companies as well as those in turnaround and renewal or in bankruptcy," a statement on the site reads.
Kaye said that the company does a lot of principal investing in property for the purpose of adding value to the property.
That's one reason why Kaye said that the company intends to demolish a part of the site that he says is non-functional and redevelop the area into something that is more conducive to business utilization.
"Our goal is to look at properties and find ways to add value so that it benefits industry and benefits the community," Kaye said.