Giving up on Greenman

By Jillian Marshall

April 22, 2013 Updated Apr 23, 2013 at 7:13 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) After four tries, Opportunities for Broome will not pursue buying the Greenman Center.

The non-profit Opportunities for Broome has been working to buy the old city-owned senior center on Pine Street for more than a year.

Last Wednesday, Binghamton City Council denied the non-profit's offer following a last-minute bid of $105,000 by Gemini Construction, LLC -- $30,000 more than the city's initial asking price of $75,000.

Although some council members said they felt the last-minute offer was below board, Gemini owner Mark Lane disagrees, saying he wasn't aware of other bids on the building.

"It was a good-faith offer," Lane said Monday. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone $30,000 over (what Opportunities for Broome was offering)."

Lane said he had planned to turn the building into office space. He said the Greenman Center will likely require hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovation, including asbestos removal.

Lane allowed his offer of $105,000 to expire last Friday, just two days after City Council decided to put the building back on the market and advertise throughout New York and Pennsylvania.

Although Opportunities for Broome has another chance to bid on the building, its Executive Director Mark Silvanic says the non-profit is moving on.

"Unfortunately for us, it's almost like starting over. The collaborations that we had were pretty specific, at this point, to the Greenman Center. We have to see where the dust settles," Silvanic said.

Lane said he's still undecided about whether he will submit another bid. He said the process is beginning to be more trouble than it's worth.

"I regret ever being involved now," Lane said, "Because I got caught between a political gunfight."

Silvanic said Opportunities for Broome is looking for another building in the Endicott and Binghamton areas to house their new program called First Course.

First Course is a contract food preparation program. They will make meals for low-income families, senior meals and provide food for some Head Start schools in the area. They will also give their employees on-the-job training to help prepare them for their future.

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