GLENS FALLS - Cobwebs hang from the ceiling and the windows are covered with film on the third floor of the east turret of the Glens Falls armory on Warren Street.
Apparently it's been a while since the last military inspection of that section of the historic armory, built in 1895 of local limestone and brick.
Yet even covered with dirt and film, the windows offer picturesque views of downtown Glens Falls and beyond.
State and local officials hope those views, combined with architectural features inside and out, will capture the imagination of some developer who would buy the building, assessed at $1.62 million, and put it on the property tax roll.
The National Guard unit that was stationed at the armory relocated to a new facility in Queensbury earlier this year.
The state Office of General Services will auction the building at 11 a.m. Oct. 21 at Room 6-103 of the Warren County Municipal Center on Route 9 in Queensbury.
The minimum bid is $500,000.
The building has drawn a fair amount of interest, albeit some from curiosity seekers, at a series of open houses, the last of which was on Wednesday, said Richard Bennett, a real estate officer with OGS who guided media on a tour.
About three dozen parties have toured the building so far, some on multiple occasions, and the state has distributed information brochures to more than 100 people that requested them, said Brad Maione, an OGS spokesman.
Yet there has been minimal substantive interest in actually buying and redeveloping the building, said Leonard Fosbrook, president of EDC Warren County, which has been marketing the building on behalf of the city.
Challenges to redeveloping the building include limited parking, restrictions because of its listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and the configuration of space, cut up into nooks and crannies, he said.
The building has about 38,000 square feet, about the same amount of space as two floors of the Monument Center office tower downtown, or about half the space of the Hannaford supermarket on Quaker Road in Queensbury.
The armory space includes a full basement and main floor, with additional space in upper floors on the east and west turrets.
You have free articles remaining.
The configuration of the space and thick walls make it a challenge to renovate for offices or apartments, said developer Peter Hoffman, the only developer that responded in an initial request for proposals earlier this year.
The state rejected Hoffman's offer because it was less than the $500,000 minimum.
Hoffman said he had a potential main tenant interested in the building at the time, but not any more, so he doubts he will bid on it.
"I'll go (to the auction) and sit down, but I don't expect to do any bidding," he said.
Michael Kaidas, another local developer The Post-Star contacted Wednesday, offered a more optimistic view of redevelopment prospects.
Kaidas said the building could be attractive to the right developer because of its wide, open gymnasium on the first floor and former mess hall in the basement.
"That's got some big open spaces, which is unusual. There aren't that many places like that left in Glens Falls," he said.
Kaidas, who is in the process of renovating the former Empire Theatre building on South Street as a retail, office and apartment complex, said he is busy with other projects and does not plan to bid on the armory building.
State officials hope historic architectural features, such as the locker with wooden lockers, will catch the attention of someone.
"Look at the details," Bennet, of OGS, said as he led members of the news media on the tour.
Locker 16 still has a faded vintage instruction sheet stapled to the inside of the door - with details about how to care for a steel helmet, tie a neck tie and lace up boots.
Regardless of how many serious bidders show up, the auction is expected to be well attended, local developers and real estate brokers said.
"I'll probably go up, just out of curiosity," said Mark Levack, a local real estate broker who said, as of Wednesday, he did not have any clients interested in the building.