Officials hope to know more soon regarding IP property deal

Published 12:13am Thursday, September 12, 2013

NATCHEZ — Adams County officials say they hope to know something about the potential sale of a portion of the former International Paper property by the end of the month.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said negotiations for the sale of a portion of the county’s newly acquired industrial property to Natchez Railway are “closer but not final.”

If completed, the sale will allow Natchez Railway to develop a loop track to assist with future growth and increased business in the Natchez-Adams County Port area, Russ said.

The loop track would circle the entire property along the outer boundary, seeking to maximize the potential and minimize the impact, he said.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said he hopes to see the deal finalized in the next two weeks.

Natchez Railway’s expansion is important in part because it will in turn support the expansion of another business in the port area, Grennell said.

“That is why this (sale) is really important, because it will provide that infrastructure that is needed for the other local company,” he said.

Grennell said he could not name the expanding business at this time.

Genesis Energy announced in May plans to significantly expand railcar operations at its loading and unloading terminal in the port.

Supervisor Calvin Butler said his main reason for considering the sale is the expansion, but he sees another benefit to moving the property.

“This would not put a lot of land back on the tax rolls, but it would be putting something back on the rolls, and we would be able to get back some of the money we spent on that property,” he said.

Adams County bought the property from Rentech in August with a $9.25 million bond.

Rentech had purchased the land with the intention of building a coal-to-liquid fuel plant there, but eventually abandoned the project as the company restructured its development strategies.

The county purchased the land at the behest of Natchez Inc., which wanted control of the industrial wastewater treatment facility on the property and the ability to better direct the marketing of the land on behalf of the county without the involvement of a third party.

Natchez Inc. is the public-private economic development body for Adams County.