ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Just when we all thought the future of the Central Warehouse was done and decided, Albany County and the long-delinquent owner return to court again Thursday morning.

It seems Evan Blum is determined the property will make him some money yet. Local leaders meeting with NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton were less than pleased, to say the least, at Blum throwing yet another wrench into their plans to finally redesign the city’s biggest eyesore.

“It’s unfortunate that this — I’ll say ‘gentleman’ lightly — is trying to do a money grab, so now he wants to go back to court,” says Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.

“He is a very good talker and a very charming person and I’ve met with him, but he has not been able to execute for years,” says Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Blum has been embroiled in suits with the county since they first tried to seize the Central Warehouse from him in May 2021. Blum has reportedly not paid a dime in back property taxes now totaling close to $550,000.

Blum’s latest scheme appears to be once again declaring bankruptcy but this time in the Southern District of New York’s federal court. McCoy says a judge already saw through Blum the first time when his bankruptcy motion in the Northern District was denied.

“The first time this happened, it was quickly dismissed, and I’m hoping for the same thing to happen today. You see me smiling now, I hope I’m still smiling at the end of the day,” McCoy says.

County representatives and Blum attended court via Zoom at 10 a.m. Thursday. By mid afternoon, a judge had heard enough and dismissed the motion.

“I don’t see any real point in what this individual is trying to do,” says Mayor Sheehan.

Well it seems the point is, as McCoy says, a “money grab”. Blum’s motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court petitioned the judge to maintain his ownership and establish a date for a virtual auction rather than allow the county to seize it to cover his back taxes, then sell it to developers for $50,000.

“If you can’t pay $500,000 in back taxes, how are you going to raise $80 million or $100 million to make this project a reality? Most importantly, I think he just wants to sell it, and good luck to him because if for any reason we [had lost] in court, he’s not selling this building. It would just sit there again,” McCoy says.

“[Blum] had many opportunities to pay his bills, many opportunities to do something with this building, and just sat on it and only is trying to get it back, because he feels now he might be able to sell it because there has been no interest on this building until now,” he went on to say.

In mid March, the Albany County Legislature had voted to move forward with a redevelopment proposal submitted by Redburn Development and Columbia Development under the joint LLC, CW Skyway. Now, McCoy and Sheehan hope to speed the process along before the interested businesses start to have second thoughts.

“Inflation being high, the cost of materials going up, the longer we drag this out, these two developers could walk away, and that’s what we’re afraid of,” McCoy says.

Sheehan says she also hopes the project stays on pace so that whatever the warehouse becomes can stand beautifully beside the future Albany Skyway. She says the city is in the process of surveying the warehouse district to create a zoning vision, and the Central Warehouse sits smack dab in the middle.

“All of the things that are already happening there, this is a really important part of it, and we want to see it move forward,” Sheehan.

It is unclear what is next for Blum. NEWS10 has reached out repeatedly through his lawyers, but never received a response. Sheehan says he’s had more than enough chances to get his act together.

“I asked him for a plan years ago, long before COVID, in an attempt to get him a $5 million grant. I only got back three pages, no engineer drawings, not a serious look at this building or redevelopment effort, and that’s when I realized we were probably not going to see anything happen under his ownership,” she says.

Blum had once declared he bought the Central Warehouse to convert into an art gallery and feature under privileged artists, but it appears now that vision has long since faded.

“This is just a money grab for somebody that might have had great intentions when he purchased this building, but didn’t forward that vision. This is his opportunity to just walk away, and let us take care of the Central Warehouse,” McCoy says.