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 Post subject: Philly-based company makes $1.275M bid on Huber Breaker
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:16 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Anthracite Region of PA
Philly-based company makes $1.275M bid on Huber Breaker
By Paul Golias (Correspondent)
Published: August 13, 2013

A last-ditch plan to save the Huber Breaker for posterity has been sidetracked by the auction process a federal bankruptcy court is using to sell off the 26.58-acre property, proponents of the plan say.

A Philadelphia company last week bid $1.275 million for the breaker and surrounding land, far more than the Huber Breaker Preservation Society discussed offering for part of the property and the breaker off South Main Street.

The Anthracite Heritage Society, reasoning asbestos and land-contamination issues would preclude serious bids, urged the preservation society to make a token bid of perhaps $25,000 for eight acres and the breaker structure.

"Only a crazy person" would bid on the breaker, Jim Burke, a founder of the heritage society, said. The Huber is believed to be the last of some 300 coal breakers that operated in Pennsylvania during the anthracite era.

Burke said he, history professor Bob Wolensky and Wilkes-Barre architect Don Sanderson talked to the preservation society's chairman, Ray Clarke, about the bid plan and pledged to assist in finding a way to fund the purchase.

Burke said the U.S. Bankruptcy Court could be asked to bifurcate, or divide, the property into two parcels, one of eight acres and one of about 18 acres. Creditors would still get a return as the 18 acres would have higher value absent the cost of tearing down the breaker, Burke said.

Wolensky said he and his colleagues saw the bankruptcy court's involvement as a "blessing in disguise." Wolensky, who is on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has written numerous books on anthracite mining history and coordinates heritage foundation programs.

"The breaker is worth saving," Wolensky reiterated.

"We would see lots of bidders for the 18 acres," Burke said.

At the same time, Wolensky said, the preservation society could begin to deal with stabilizing the breaker, dealing with the asbestos and arranging for insurance coverage.

But, the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy, attorney Michael Oleyar, of Hazle Township, has received court approval to auction off the property. Judge John Thomas has set a hearing for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 22 at the federal courthouse in Wilkes-Barre, with the auction scheduled to follow.

Whether or not a true auction will be held remains unclear. Court documents show that written offers for the property must be filed with Oleyar by 3 p.m. Aug. 21. A bid must be accompanied by a deposit of 10 percent of the offer.

Al Roman, owner of No. 1 Contracting Co., the bankrupt owner of the historic breaker and the land, has filed objections through attorney Ronald Santora. Thomas is expected to hear those objections and the auction may or may not follow, depending on his rulings.

The opening bid was entered by Paselo Logistics, LLC, 221 12th St., Philadelphia, according to court documents. Paselo is one of three related companies owned by Angelo Franco, Philadelphia, according to recycling websites.

A man who answered the phone last week at the number listed for Paselo Logistics declined to identify himself and refused comment. He said he would relay the inquiry to his attorney, who also has not responded. Santora said in his objections that the Philadelphia address is that of a restaurant.

Santora, in his objections, cited environmental hazards at the site, including contaminated soil and an asbestos-coated smokestack. A survey performed for No. 1 Contracting by Neumeyer Environmental Services Inc., Pittsburgh, set removal costs at $840,000 for the soil and $125,000 for the stack. That and the asbestos issue would double the proposed $1,275,000 purchase price, the attorney wrote.

Santora previously set the value of the steel in the breaker at $400,000. Mineable coal under the property has additional value, he has said.

Burke said the steel value does not offset the costs of tearing down the breaker and dealing with environmental issues and that Ashley citizens could be anxious about seeing coal mining resume in the small community.

It has been expected for years that the breaker will be razed and its steel sold for scrap value. Creditors and the court have agreed that assets should be sold as quickly as possible so as to obtain payments for creditors.

No. 1 Contracting has been in bankruptcy since March 5, 2010. The case began as a Chapter 11 proceeding but was changed to Chapter 7, which calls for liquidation of assets and payments to creditors.

Clarke said the Huber Breaker Preservation Society is monitoring developments. He had no comment otherwise.

Meanwhile, Burke is completing work on a film, "Tales of the Molly Maguires," a new telling of the story of the Irish miners who fought coal operators in the 19th century. Burke, a former chairman of the board of King's College, had a hand in the film, "The Molly Maguires," filmed at Eckley. Ironically, he helped create the breaker used as a backdrop in that film.

Burke has suggested that a museum and small theatre complex be build at the Miners' Memorial Park that sits in front of the Huber Breaker. The Huber Breaker Preservation Society, created more than 20 years ago in the hope of preserving the breaker, has been unsuccessful in that effort but it has created the memorial park in which a monument to all miners sits. The park is on 3.1 acres donated by Earth Conservancy.

Opened in 1939, the breaker was named after Charles F. Huber, chairman of Glen Alden Coal Co., predecessor to Blue Coal. It replaced a breaker built in 1895. The Huber mine and breaker employed 1,700 people at its peak. The coal was sold throughout the eastern United States and most was hauled out by the Central Railroad of New Jersey, which had a major yard adjacent to the colliery.

Scott K
"Watch Your Top"

 Post subject: Re: Philly-based company makes $1.275M bid on Huber Breaker
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:34 pm
Posts: 6871
Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
Things not look too good for the ol breaker. Like I said before I want to be far upwind from the ensuing dust and asbestos cloud! I wonder how they are going to do that so close to town. Also they are calling the coal under the breaker "mineable" for value. You can't strip mine it because you can't fire off shots with the proximity to the town and rr tracks....... So the value of it is worthless in the sale, but let em fight over it anyway ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Philly-based company makes $1.275M bid on Huber Breaker
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 3:57 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:03 pm
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Location: United States
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