If Bearsville isn’t sold privately soon, it will be auctioned

Last week a notice appeared on the bulletin board of the Woodstock Library concerning The Bear Café, which has been closed most of this year, along with the nearby Bearsville Theater and Peterson House, most recently known as Commune Saloon. 

The notice announces a 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 4, foreclosure sale at the front lobby of the Ulster County Courthouse, 285 Fair Street, Kingston, on the property known for years as the Bearsville Complex, around 291 Tinker Street, per a July 10 foreclosure action that was entered in the Office of the Ulster County Clerk on July 17, with Rondout Savings Bank as plaintiff and a long list of entities served that included Bearsville Associates LLC, Koala Bear Ltd, Pah-hah Inc., The Peterson House at the Woodstock Commune LLC, John E. Kirkpatrick, The Bear Café Restaurant, The Bearsville Theater, and renters on the property and others, many of them contractors who had worked on recent renovations at the complex.

In judicial foreclosures of the sort now playing out in Bearsville, the lender — in this case Rondout Savings Bank — must file a lawsuit against the borrower, in this case John Kirkpatrick and the various partnerships he formed to purchase and run the businesses on the Bearsville property, asking the court for a judgment of foreclosure and order of sale, which have been granted. The defendants in such a case are both the actual borrower and any other parties with any financial interest in the property, through rental agreements, liens, or owed moneys.


In recent weeks, Woodstock Times ascertained that Kirkpatrick’s properties in Bearsville — a 15.32 acre streamside former farm developed into a complex of restaurants, housing, a video studio, and theater by noted impresario and rock agent Albert Grossman in the 1970s and 1980s — were moving towards a sales contract under the guidance of their realtor at Win Morrison Real Estate. As of May 28, the Bear Café and its accompanying buildings had been listed for sale for $2,990,000. 

Win Morrison agent Doreen Marchisella noted that she couldn’t disclose who the interested party she was working with on the sale was, only saying that should a closing occur in the coming weeks, “the foreclosure wouldn’t take precedence.” She added that “the radio station, WDST, still has a year left on its lease and The Little Bear has at least through September on its.”

Rumors regarding possible moves for the latter Chinese Restaurant, an institution in Bearsville for decades, were all just that — rumors — as of press time this week.

Speaking on behalf of Rondout Savings Bank, Chief Lending Officer Mike Shaughnessy noted that “Up until the September 4 scheduled sale, Mr. Kirkpatrick owns the property and can do what he wants with it. Nothing would make the bank happier than to see the sale that’s in the works occur.”

Shaughnessy, a Woodstock resident of many years who noted how much he missed The Bear Café, said any further discussion of the foreclosure procedure would have to go through the attorneys involved

Rondout Saving’s legal counsel, Daniel Rusk of Rusk, Wadlin, was unable to comment as of press time. 

Rod Futerfas, who is also the Woodstock town attorney, is representing Kirkpatrick in the proceedings, replied to a request for comment by saying he could grant “absolutely none” in the case.

There are 9 comments

  1. Dwayne

    Skimpy reporting. How about a little more info/background? For instance, when did the Kirkpatrick entities purchase the complex, and how much did they pay for it? Wouldn’t take long to ferret such details from County Clerk records (just one source I can think of), which any respectable newspaper should know to access.

    1. Sawbuck

      What a parcel sells for is not in any clerk’s office? County clerks, town clerks, etc. have not that information. A lot of times the amount reads “$1.” on the deed.

      1. Dwayne

        Sorry, gotta call BS on this. I work for an Ulster Co. municipality and have been accessing County Clerk records for years. It took me less than three minutes to find a sale of the Bearsville complex (Grossman to Bearsville Associates) for $1.98 million, dated 8/20/2004. The cost or “consideration” is ALWAYS listed in the deed. There are many deeds with zero or nominal consideration, including at least one (a right to match offers) connected with this sale. There are myriad interfamily transfers, transfers to trusts, etc., done for nominal fee.

  2. John Freer

    Real estate agents really shouldn’t commenting on how people run or not run their businesses.
    As Lao Tzu said ” He who speaks does not know,he who knows does not speak”.

  3. Dred Scott

    I have seen some amazing shows at the theatre! Would be such a shame if it is torn down to build a condo by the stream.

  4. Bart Friedman

    Was Rondout Savings Bank prudent in making the loan in the first place? It often amazes me who banks deem worthy of credit. I hope they remain solvent

    1. Dwayne

      I expect the judgment of foreclosure (page 1 thereof pictured in story), and possibly the notice of sale, would list the amount owed. Then you could compare that amount with what you think the property is worth. Another example of skimpy reporting – I’d expect the story to print the unpaid debt. I doubt the original loan was outrageously imprudent. If there were second, third, … mortgages taken out, those would be much more likely suspect. Again, details on the underlying debt are conspicuously lacking in the story. One could search County Clerk records for mortgages, but I already did so for the sale (see comment above), and that’s enough.

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