Three entities to get a piece of IP site

Published 12:10 am Sunday, March 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — The days of desolation for the old International Paper site are coming to a close.

By April 1, Rentech is scheduled to take possession of the property and begin the land’s transformation to a full-scale fuel and chemical development facility.

But before the actual closing there is a literal, but small, mountain of paperwoark to overcome.

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Attorney Bob Latham, specially hired by the county to facilitate the land closing, said large scale land deals require a great deal of permitting and litigation.

Closing the deal.

The closing itself will involve several different entities.

Rentech, Adams County, International Paper and the St. Catherine’s Creek Utility Authority will all take part in the multifaceted closing.

The closing will involve 800 acres of land and three separate deeds.

First, the land deed from International Paper will go to Adams County.

Adams County will then transfer ownership of the property to Rentech and St. Catherine’s Creek.

St. Catherine’s will be maintaining the restricted areas on the acreage used for waste storage by IP.

Rentech will receive nearly 475 acres and Adams County will also obtain some small parcels of land in the deal.

But when Rentech and the county close the land deal, there are three pieces of property that the county will receive, County administrator Cathy Walker said.

One of those pieces of property, which the county has rented from International Paper for a few years, is the old pine tree tech building, which is currently used to house the Adams County Extension Service.

The county currently rents the pine tree tech building for $5 a month, Latham said.

The second piece of property will be a recreation area on Cargill Road that the county has used for a number of years, Walker said.

The third piece of property is a tract of land on the railroad tracks going into the port, she said.

Old deals, new deals.

Latham said while the county’s role as liaison may appear odd, it’s actually been in place for a couple of years.

Latham said approximately two years ago, when a power company was interested in developing the IP site, the county had already been given first choice on purchasing the land by IP.

When the deal with the power company fell through, the county still maintained it’s original right to purchase from IP.

Latham said the county was able to secure to land from IP at a very reasonable price.

Specific dollar amounts on the land transactions are confidential at this time, Latham said.

But when the transactions do occur, they will take place in short order.

There won’t be a great gathering of county officials and business executives signing stacks of papers and shaking hands.

Latham said one or two days before the actual closing, scheduled for the March 28, all the paper work should arrive at his office for a final inspection.

If everything is in order, the actual money will be wired into the appropriate accounts and all of the transferences will happen virtually instantly.

Rentech’s Natchez project manager Joe Regnery said once Rentech acquires the land work should begin on the new site within a few months.

Latham said the acquisitions should all go as scheduled.

“Right now everything’s going fine,” he said.