Former bank building getting new owner

Published Apr 25, 2018 at 12:00pm

TOWN OF LEE — The former Berkshire Bank branch building at 6310 Elmer Hill Road is being purchased by the Hobby Hill Farm Sales business, which plans to move to the site from its nearby 8727 Turin Road location.

The purchase of the 1.73-acre parcel and approximately 2,300-square-foot building is set to be completed this week, said Todd Bortiatynski, who operates Hobby Hill Farm Sales with his wife Claire while his brother Michael is a business partner. He would not discuss the purchase price.

Bortiatynski’s sales and service business offers various Mahindra-brand compact tractors and related items for commercial and domestic customers. He said Monday the former bank property offers a larger location than the approximately half-acre site he has been leasing at 8727 Turin Road.

“I’ve outgrown where I’m at....I need more room,” commented Bortiatynski, whose 13-year-old business has been at 8727 Turin Road for about two years and also still has a maintenance shop at its original location on Belcher Road in Lee. The former bank site has “more room inside and out” and is a good move for his business, he added.

Berkshire closed its branch at the building in January 2017, and officials said at the time that they planned to sell the site. The bank had announced in October 2016 that the branch would be consolidated with another nearby Berkshire branch at 1629 Black River Boulevard in Rome. Berkshire, based in Massachusetts, also has two other Rome locations.

The Elmer Hill Road bank branch originally was operated by Rome Savings Bank, and was built about 10 years ago. Berkshire purchased Rome Savings Bank in 2011. The former bank branch site is near the intersection of Elmer Hill Road and Turin Road, while Bortiatyski’s current 8727 Turin Road location is across from it on the opposite side of Turin Road.

For his upcoming use of the building, Bortiatynski said he plans to enclose the former drive-through area to have it for setup and pre-delivery inspections of tractors that have been purchased. He otherwise does not plan significant changes to the building, but noted the property will provide room for more equipment displays as well as for more tractor implements and attachments that will be brought from the Belcher Road site. That location will continue to be used as an equipment maintenance shop. Bortiatynski said he hopes to add some employees for his business at the new facility.

Berkshire Bank Assistant Vice President and Marketing Officer Heidi Higgins said Tuesday the bank will not comment on pending sales.