Miller/Howard needs a new space before selling to Woodstock Library

The Woodstock Library’s purchase of the former Miller/Howard Investments building on Dixon Avenue now hinges on the company finding a new headquarters, pushing a possible bond vote into early 2022.

 “Initially, we had hoped to do it (the bond referendum to borrow the money to buy and renovate) in the summer. That was just too soon. We’re looking now for maybe January, February, depending exactly what we need to do beforehand,” library board president Jeff Collins said at the October 21 trustee meeting. “They (Miller/Howard) have not yet taken up the purchase agreement at their board. They have been looking for new space to move into assuming that they do sell the building. They need to have that be packaged together with the proposal that (Miller/Howard President Luan Jenifer) takes to the board,” Collins said. “They basically need a place to move once they sell the building. They’re looking for a much smaller place. They have two locations that they are choosing from.” 

Miller/Howard will take furnishings to reuse in their new location and will donate the rest to the library. Whatever the library doesn’t need, it can sell, according to Collins. Furnishings may include the telephone system and computers. “They’re going to take what they need for the new facility and what they don’t need, they’re going to leave,” Collins said.

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That leaves a decision about timing for the bond vote and any loose ends that need to be addressed. “We’ll find out. We’ll talk to the lawyers. We’ll talk to the Planning Board, see what they want us to do,” Collins said. “The other issue is to address the zoning. As we’ve discussed before, the zoning for the building is light industrial, which does not permit libraries. That’s got to be a change made by the Town Board, actually, to allow that…I’ve been in communication with Town Board and I think they’re amenable to doing that. In fact, they say they’re amenable to doing that. But that’s a matter of timing, too. So all of those things have to happen before we go to bond. That doesn’t mean we need to wait for them before we schedule a bond, we just have to have those completed before the bond actually gets done.”

Miller/Howard put the building up for sale after COVID-19 forced its staff to work from home. It realized most employees can continue to work remotely and it can operate with a much smaller headquarters. 

The 10 Dixon Avenue building became a possibility just as the library board was discussing next steps in the wake of a $5.8 million bond for building a new library getting defeated by just 11 votes.

Plans are to bond (borrow) for the asking price of the building, which is $2.579 million, and renovation costs of $1.2 million, for a total of just over $3.7 million. Collins hopes to negotiate the asking price down to $2.5 million.

The library will then launch a fundraising campaign that it hopes will pay for an addition that will house the children’s area and other spaces at a cost of $3 million.

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