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Williamsville ice cream shop hopes to lease old mill during holidays

A popular ice cream and chocolate shop is likely to be operated in the old Williamsville Water Mill on a month-to-month basis during the holiday season while the village tries to find a buyer with a long-term plan for the iconic mill on East Spring Street, officials said Tuesday.

Williamsville – which owns the 1811 mill at 56 E. Spring St. – has negotiated a temporary lease with Sweet Jenny’s Ice Cream, located two blocks away at 5732 Main St., so the owners of the sweet shop can begin on-site sales at the old mill as soon as November, Mayor Brian J. Kulpa said Tuesday.

The lease is still dependent upon approval from the state Historic Preservation Office – which has given the village money to stabilize the structure – but Kulpa was hopeful that process could be expedited.

The owners of Sweet Jenny’s, Howard and Tara Cadmus, recently approached the village about leasing space at the now vacant mill and the idea has received strong support.

“The potential is huge,” said Tara Cadmus.

Meanwhile, the village – which rescued the property from foreclosure in 2005 – wants to get out of the landlord business and begin fielding offers for the historic mill and two adjacent buildings once it can establish a fair market value.

The property was appraised at $236,900 in 2005 and $510,000 in 2008.

Howard Cadmus said he has started the process of securing a commercial loan or bringing in other investors to buy the property.

Iskalo Development Corp. is still interested, as well, Kulpa said Tuesday during a Village Board meeting. The village had previously worked out an agreement with Iskalo to redevelop the property, but nothing came of it.

“In the short term, I’m really excited about Sweet Jenny’s moving in,” said Trustee Christopher J. Duquin. “The mill really is an image of who we are. We are going to make this the heart of the village.”

Ideally, the village officials would like to see Iskalo step in to redevelop the site, and Sweet Jenny’s lease space in the mill.

That way the “Village Square” concept envisioned for Spring Street could move forward and Williamsville could recoup some of the money it put into the old water mill.

More than $1.7 million has been put toward the mill since it was purchased in 2005, which includes $883,956 in grant money and $897,852 from Williamsville, according to figures from the village.

The owners of Sweet Jenny’s, however, said they have not talked to Iskalo about the possibility of partnering and indicated on Tuesday that the two sides are on different timetables.

It also looks like another interested developer has emerged.

Storch Cooperative Development of Williamsville this week sent the mayor a letter proposing a bed and breakfast and small retail shops for the two buildings adjacent to the mill.