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Rentech selling International Paper land

NATCHEZ — A year after Rentech officials stated their proposed Adams County project no longer fit the company’s strategy, the company has announced its intentions to sell the former International Paper property it purchased in 2008.

In an announcement Thursday, Rentech officials said the company would be mothballing its research and development product unit in Commerce City, Colo., laying off 65 employees and putting up for sale the 450 acres it owns in Natchez.

Rentech President and CEO D. Hunt Ramsbottom said the company wants to focus more on immediate or near-term profitability.

When the Natchez property was purchased, the company announced plans it would develop the former International Paper industrial site into a coal-to-liquid alternative fuel production facility. The company at the time projected 400 jobs and a $1 to $2 billion investment into Adams County.

The sale of the property to Rentech was brokered through the county, with the county negotiating a selling price with IP and a purchase price with Rentech.

The sale contract was between IP and Adams County, with the county retaining the right to direct IP to deed the land to Rentech.

The county received $1.7 million for brokering the deal.

However, the deed did not have a legal clawback agreement — meaning that if the property was not used for the purpose for which it had been sold or if the company did not meet certain benchmarks, the land would revert back to the county — and the property has remained out of reach for other developments until Rentech decided to sell the property.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said having the property back on the market is excellent for future economic development.

“It has a couple of buildings that could be used for administrative purposes, you have wastewater treatment and you have a lot of available water wells there,” Grennell said.

“It is another addition to the industrial park of Adams County that is available, and I think it will attract some industry out there, if not, maybe multiple industries.”

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ could not be reached for comment Friday.

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