Will supervisors land agreement lead to 200 jobs for county?

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors executed Tuesday a property option on approximately 70 acres of the county-owned former International Paper property.

The agreement could be characterized as “an option with a major investment on a gas-to-liquids project,” Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said.

County officials declined to name the company on-the-record Tuesday, but Russ said the option could represent a $500-$900 million investment resulting in approximately 200 jobs.

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The company is currently working through due diligence phases of the project, securing permits and seeking funding, Russ said.

“They still have a long way to go before we would say it is a project that is capitalized or in play, but for that we are definitely getting a secured interest in the property,” Russ said. “What we have done is basically made the property available to them and to de-risk the county through the agreement on any capital outlay on the property.”

Board of Supervisors Attorney Scott Slover said the option was for “good and valuable consideration” for the property — comparable to market rate — with the option for the company to purchase the property.

The 70 acres are approximately in the area of the IP property where the silos formerly stood.

“If you went from the wastewater facility and carved out 70 acres east and north, that is generally the area we are talking about,” Russ said.

The option is for 12-18 months.

“It is our intention that their project either comes to fruition in that time frame or we will move something else,” Russ said. “This is not a situation where it will be tied up for many years and we are receiving option payments, because that is not what we intend.”

An official announcement about the project could come within 30 days, Russ said.

The option executed Tuesday is not attached to the project the supervisors authorized their attorney to pursue earlier this month.

In that project, a manufacturing-sector industrial client plans to lease and then purchase the former IP warehouse and approximately 30 acres.

Russ said he believes that project will be finalized around the first week of February.

“They’re in the phase 1 environmental (studies) and doing due diligence, but all terms and conditions have been agreed upon and met, so as soon as we finalize the environmentals and some of the other items there, we will be able to come out and tell the good news,” he said.