Owners of the Olde Library Office Complex have filed for bankruptcy.
“It’s just Chapter 11. We want to reorganize,” said Thomas J. George, a principal of the partnership. “We think that we have a buyer.”
George said he and his partners “have $1 million invested in the building at 106 E. North St. It’s a nice building. It’s not run down We’ve taken care of it over the years.”
The historic building once served as the downtown’s post office. More recently it served as the New Castle Public library until 1981. It then served as an office complex housing a bar/restaurant, medical and financial offices. Currently, only the dental office of Dr. Joseph Ross and George Associates remain in the building. George said he plans to maintain his offices on the second floor.
“I don’t know what plans the buyer has (for the building),” he said. "But I’m sure something can be worked out. We’re willing to pay rent.”
Although he would not name his prospective buyer, George said he believes the financial problems will be resolved but said he is not sure how long it will take.
“We just need more time,’ he said. “In the real estate market, nothing is for certain until someone puts a name on the line and puts the money down.
“We thought we were close in August but it didn’t work out. Now we need more time to do something. We’ll see where things go from there.”
The partnership, which includes George and Robert J. Bruce, are claiming assets of $495,796, including $350,000 the estimated value of the building, and liabilities of $294,248.
In filing for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, George said he is seeking financial reorganization. Creditors include Cedar Tree Management Corp., who is owed $87,357 for loans and management fees; George owes $38,167 and Bruce owes $33,100 both for loans.
Efforts to reach Attorney Keila Estevez of Pittsburgh, representing the partners, were not successful.
George, who once owned many of the downtown buildings, now has only only a few including the Olde Library, the former Troutman’s department store where Infocision is now located and an “interest” in the former Towne Mall.
George praised the downtown saying it still has potential for development.
“New Castle offers great services,” he said. “The fire and police departments always respond to calls and the street department does a great job. The place just needs some young blood.”
Linda Nitch, executive director of business development for the Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce, said she heard of the impending bankruptcy.
“It will have no direct impact on downtown development plans,” she said, adding, “We have an abundance of vacant office space in the downtown. This will become another vacant office building available for purchase.”