A Utica-based attorney's passion for historic buildings prompted him to buy two properties in Utica and New York Mills that date back to the turn of the 20th century. 

Michael Cancilla recently purchased the CharlesTown complex at 311 Turner St. in the city and the No. 3 Mill at 587 Main St. in New York Mills. 

The No. 3 Mill was renovated in the early 1990s by local businessman Jeff Haggas. Businesses ranging from law offices to a health club with an indoor track occupy the mill. 

“The place is absolutely gorgeous,” Cancilla said of the No. 3 Mill. “Jeff kept it in great condition.” 

The CharlesTown complex isn't as modern. As Cancilla puts it, “it needs work, obviously.” About nine tenants, ranging from a construction company to a doctor's office, fill about half of the 250,000-square-foot facility. 

“I would love to see more development there,” Cancilla said of the property, which is located in Utica and the town of Frankfort. 

The line separating Oneida and Herkimer counties runs through the middle of the building. 

CharlesTown former retail site

In the early 1980s, CharlesTown was an outlet center with 52 stores, specialty shops, two restaurants and Off Track Betting parlor and a food court. When asked if the building could again be filled with retail-shops, Cancilla said he didn't believe the outlook was good. 

“I don't know if outlet malls want to go into these old buildings anymore,” he said.

Once winter weather breaks, Cancilla said he plans to repair leaks in the roof and try to lease more space to smaller, startup businesses. He said he would further develop the site if more tenants wanted to move into the building. 

Cancilla has owned the CharlesTown for a couple months and has been overseeing it since January, he said. 

According to property records, Tampa-based Consolidated American Industries Corporation owned CharlesTown prior to Cancilla taking it over in October. The sale price could not be learned, and Cancilla said he paid very little for the complex. 

The assessed value of the Utica-portion of the CharlesTown is $140,000, according to the city Assessor's Office. The value of the Frankfort portion and the No. 3 Mill could not be learned Wednesday. 

Mill like 'little inner city'

Patty Pantola has been making custom design clothing and apparel for 30 years, but it was a little more than three years ago before she found herself operating from the No. 3 Mill. 

“I call my business 'The Stitch-A-Ree' because I'm in the old factory,” Pantola said. 

The location is good and parking is OK, depending on how many people are working out at the nearby Fitness Mill health club, Pantola said. She described the atmosphere as welcoming, and said many of the tenants know each other and even utilize one another's services. 

“There are always people around the whole building,” she said. “It's kind of like a little inner city.” 

Haggas, the former owner, could not be reached Wednesday. 

The sale price could not be learned, and Cancilla said he paid much more for the mill than he did for the CharlesTown complex, but he would not say how much. 

Cancilla doesn't expect to make many changes at the No. 3 Mill, he said. He is exploring uses for the unfinished fourth floor of the facility, and said he'd like to expand parking if possible. One thing Cancilla talked about looking into was loft apartments as an option for the top floor. 

“I just want to keep up the good name that it has,” Cancilla said.

> GALLERY: Charlestown mall and Mill No. 3 sold

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CHARLESTOWN MALL

Built: Early 1900s.

Located: 311 Turner St., Utica. Half of the building is in the city and the other half is in the town of Frankfort. 

Former uses: It was a manufacturing plant for Savage Arms during World War I and World War II. During the 1950s, Sperry Univac took over the facility, making it the center of its manufacturing operations in the Mohawk Valley. Sperry Univac phased out its last 950 jobs in 1976. 

Charles A. Gaetano purchased the property in 1976 and by 1982 opened CharlesTown outlet center. The factory outlet center officially closed in 1991, and became the CharlesTown Business Complex. 

About nine tenants currently occupy about half of the 250,000-square-foot facility.

NO. 3 MILL

Built: 1870 

Located: 587 Main St., New York Mills. 

Former uses: From 1908 to the late 1950s, the mill was owned by the A.D. Juilliard Co. and was a major part of the village's textile industry. 

Lally Manufacturing Co. bought the mill in 1963 to produce cold weather undergarments, mostly for government contracts. The company shut down production in early 1992. 

Local businessman Jeff Haggas purchased the facility in October 1992, and four years later several new businesses rejuvenated the historic mill. 

The mill in 1969 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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