MIDDLEBURY — A metal recycling company has entered into contract to buy the former Monahan Filaments property at 3046 Case St., Middlebury, where it plans to employ up to 30 people to disassemble vehicles and other metal equipment and sell the reusable parts.
The prospective buyer of the foreclosed property is Rutland-based Earth Waste Systems (EWS). The company already has a presence in Middlebury — as the Wyre Wheel at 4079 Route 7 South — and has other locations in Castleton and Morrisonville, N.Y.
EWS Executive Vice President, CFO and spokesman Brian R. Kubricky was out of the state and unavailable for comment as the Addison Independentwent to press. But Kubricky outlined EWS’s plans for the Case Street property in a Feb. 25 letter on file at the Middlebury planning office.
“Our plan is to use the existing industrial zones land and building to augment our existing industrial scrap metal recycling activities in Middlebury,” Kubricky wrote. “Specifically, our plan is to bring automobiles and other recyclables purchased over the scale and at local auctions to the site, move them into the existing building(s), perform a partial disassembly, and prepare them to be fully recycled.”
Kubricky stated “usable parts and sub-assemblies” will be separated and placed into inventory for sale through the Internet or through the company’s retail yards.
• No retail sales will take place at the site.
• Fluids will be removed from the vehicles, with the non-salvageable portions crushed for more convenient trucking to the “end-users.”
• Recycling activities will be conducted in a “contained, environmentally friendly manner in accordance with local, state and federal requirements.”
• There are no plans to store materials outside the buildings.
“It is our desire to once again make the site a place where local people can work and earn a living,” Kubricky wrote.
More than 140 people were making a living at the site as recently as 2008, when Monahan Filaments was still manufacturing a variety of plastic bristles for brooms, brushes and other products. But like Specialty Filaments before it, the Illinois-based Monahan company could not make a go of it at the Middlebury site. Citing declining sales and increased competition, Monahan closed the Middlebury business on Nov. 15, 2009, only a few years after acquiring the property out of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for $3.125 million.
The property went into foreclosure and is now controlled by the National Bank of Middlebury.
“We are pleased to have an offer on the building,” National Bank of Middlebury President G. Kenneth Perine said on Thursday. “We are delighted to see it is going to be put back into use.”
Perine anticipates a mid-April closing on the property.
In the meantime, Middlebury Town Planner Fred Dunnington will review EWS’s specific plan for the property and potentially give it an administrative green light without the proposal having to go for a full review before the town’s Development Review Board.
Dunnington said EWS’s proposed use of the Case Street property appears reasonable, given the configuration and construction of the buildings.
“These buildings were put up in the 1960s and ’70s and are not models of energy efficiency,” Dunnington said. “Using them for storage or recycling purposes … would not be far from what they were used for before.”
The close proximity of a scenic pond and wooded area, Dunnington said, could generate some concerns about potential pollution. But he noted plans call for the vehicles to be kept and disassembled indoors, thereby reducing the potential for environmental contamination.
“From my point of view, this seems like a good fit,” Dunnington said. “It doesn’t require sewers, because they aren’t using processed water; they are collecting and recycling all the fluids and properly disposing of them in an environmental manner — not through floor drains.”
He added that based on EWS’s representations, traffic levels at the site would not exceed those that existed before.
“We don’t see that (this use) would be a substantial change,” Dunnington said.
If the company does introduce new changes, they would have to be brought before the public and the Development Review Board, according to Dunnington.
Addison County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Robin Scheu is excited to see a new use for the Case Street property.
“I am certainly very supportive of what they say they will do, per the (Kubricky) letter,” Scheu said. “The property has been a challenging one, and I am glad EWS was able to see a way to use it productively and efficiently.
“It seems like all good news to me.”
Reporter John Flowers is at email@example.com.