The intended headquarters for Monolith Solar remains a ‘skeleton’ since construction halted last fall. Diego Cagara / Spotlight News
SLINGERLANDS — Pioneer Bank of Colonie has opted to foreclose on the Monolith Solar property at Vista Technology Campus.
The Albany Business Review reported earlier this month that Pioneer, which provided a $3 million loan towards the construction of a 16,000-square-foot administration building, a 10,000-square-foot building for warehouse and subsequent solar farm. At present, only a skeleton framework of a building remains on the site. Construction ceased last fall just months after it began.
The courtship between the solar company and the Columbia Development-owned technology park started nearly five years ago. The 440-acre mixed-use development possessed several businesses, none of which fit the descriptions for technology. Monolith Solar was expected to fill that void and potentially provide energy to other tenants, too.
“I’m very disappointed to see Monolith not succeed,” said Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven. “I thought they would have been a very good addition to our town.”
The bank’s foreclosure is just the latest in a string of events that spells a company in trouble.
Monolith Solar failed to meet monetary payments to the town in recent months; both in the form of a missed payment-in-lieu-of-taxes to the town for $1,045, and an administrative fee of approximately $2,000, each was due in January. After several no-shows to recent IDA meetings, the board voted last month to rescind more than $600,000 in tax break incentives originally offered to bring Monolith Solar to the town. This was preceded by several reports of complaints against the company, including one by Consolidated Electrical Distributors seeking $1.19 million last September. All of which seemed to emerge once construction inexplicably stopped on the Slingerlands site.
New leadership replaced Monolith founders Steve Erby and Mark Fobare in late 2017, only for the company to name Chris Stroud as its new CEO last September.
“We have a financial restructuring plan for our organization already in place, not only of debts and obligations, but it’s also the establishment of a very substantial construction financing pipeline, which can tend to be a weakness for other organizations that have to build and stop and build and stop as they obtain construction financing,” Stroud told Spotlight News last November. “But we’re in negotiations in establishing that very substantial construction financing pipeline that will carry us for a year or more, without having to stop our progress or distract ourselves from our objectives of getting work done.”
The Slingerlands location was expected to retain all 49 employees originally housed at its Rensselaer location, plus create another 76 jobs over the next five years. In January, however, Monolith and its affiliate SAE Sun and Earth Technology each announced it would layoff some of their employees. Monolith was to axe six of its 23 employees, while SAE was to reportedly lay off 47 of its 58 employees.
“I’m very hopeful that Columbia will see the construction through to completion,” said VanLuven, “so they don’t have a skeleton [left remaining].”
Diego Cagara assisted with this news article.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.