"We're working on it."
Demetrios Haseotes, recent purchaser of the vacated First and Farmers National Bank building in Downtown Somerset, commented about plans to move headquarters of 11 of his far-flung business interests into the building.
"I'm not ready to release names of businesses to be headquartered there ... we've still got several things going on," Haseotes told the Commonwealth Journal this week. He said the business headquarters will operate under an umbrella corporation called Hemisphere Limited LLC " ... and a sign on the former bank building will be going up soon."
Contractors are currently working at the bank structure. Haseotes said at least eight permanent employees will work at the building. "I don't have staff there now ... the building is currently in disarray (because of remodeling)," he observed.
Haseotes said Hemisphere Limited LLC will be operational in the former bank building " ... the first or second week in February." Local business promoters have said Haseotes' plans are a solid footing for downtown revitalization; a giant step in a long-time efforts to attract businesses to the downtown area.
"I've been managing businesses in New York and other places from here, but now since I live here (that is the reason for the consolidation)," he said. Haseotes, owner and past director of the Cumberland Group of Companies, which include Framingham, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms and Gulf Oil LP, formed Somerset-based Continental Refining Company (CRC) in December 2011 and purchased financially troubled Somerset Refinery. He also owns the Circle K convenience store on U.S. 27.
Initially, Hemisphere Limited will be an operational center for Haseotes' businesses but he suggested a downtown Circle K convenience store could be downtown and it is a possibility some other types of retail businesses could locate in the building.
Haseotes paid $845,000 for the vacated bank building. according to property transfer records. First and Farmers National Bank left the building when it completed its new regional headquarters at 2020 South U.S. 27, site of the former Golden Corral restaurant. Banking business was last done at the downtown building Friday, August 16.
Haseotes has invested greatly in this community. He told the Commonwealth Journal recently he has spent about $40 million at the Continental Refinery location since he purchased the former Somerset Refinery about nine years ago.
The refinery ceased production about two years ago to undergo an assessment phase and a $75 million modernization. Since then Haseotes has candidly said future of the refinery is uncertain. However, the assessment phase is still under way and Haseotes told the Commonwealth Journal recently an announcement will be made in June about the iconic refinery's future.