An all-cash sale of the former Kodak Hawkeye Plant in the city of Rochester has been approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of New York.
Kundalini Corp., a real estate development firm headquartered in Long Island hamlet of Commack, will pay $9.2 million to WBS Capital Inc. for the 760,000-square-foot building and sprawling campus along St. Paul Street and Driving Park that overlooks the Genesee River.
The property went up for auction as part of a bankruptcy proceeding involving WBS Capital, which is headquartered in Flushing. No bid other than the mortgager’s credit bid of $300,000 was received by the court-approved deadline.
But a signed sales contract with Kundalini Corp. was submitted shortly thereafter, according to court papers filed by WBS Capital attorney Scott Markowitz, partner and co-chair of the bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice at New York City-based Tarter Krinskey & Drogan LLP.
The court approved the sale on Wednesday and the transaction is scheduled to close by Dec. 15, court papers show. The sale includes the property as well as all machinery, equipment and fixtures.
WBS Capital bought the Kodak Hawkeye Plant in 2018 for just over $2.5 million. The firm entered the Rochester market with the announcement of grand plans to invest $55.7 million to create a Federal Trade Zone with warehouse, offices and affordable housing within the seven-building campus and adjacent parking lots.
The plans were approved for leaseback and tax incentives from Monroe County and included plans to create up to 100 jobs, plus up to 100 construction jobs.
In the heyday of Eastman Kodak Co., the Hawkeye Plant housed one of the most secretive operations in the country: a program known as Bridgehead that operated during the Cold War. Imagery from aerial reconnaissance of the former Soviet Union was brought to the facility for development, and the photographs were then sent on to intelligence officials.
Troop movements, missile locations, munitions manufacturing operations — you name it, government intel experts were given a look via the images.
Since 2011, however, the building, however, has been mostly abandoned, even after the sale to WBS Capital.
“Few buildings are embedded into Rochester’s DNA like the Hawkeye Plant,” former Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said at an Oct. 9, 2018, news conference to introduce WBS officials. “It’s a building shrouded in mystery and intrigue, and because of that, these are the kind of stories that remind you of the brainpower that’s here in Rochester.
“That’s why I’m so happy to see this building come out of mothballs and become a job-creating engine.”
Officials from Kundalini Corp. weren’t immediately available for comment.
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