“We want to have the plant in operation, fully manned by spring, because we still are very hopeful that by then the economy is going to turn around,” Walton said. “It has been a long hard process but anything like this takes a long time.”
Walton was asked about the most recent progress on the plant to be built in the Bob Walton Sr. Industrial Park in New Boston.
“We have totally worked out a very complicated sales agreement on the land. It is being reviewed for final approval by the parent company, Reliance Steel, in Los Angeles,” Walton said. “All the issues have been worked out. Their attorney from Atlanta and the Infra-Metals people from Connecticut were in a couple of weeks ago. We worked out all the details with our attorney Stephen Oliver and a committee of the Port Board, myself, Jim Warren, and Carolyn Kegley. The full Port Authority Board approved it, and Infra-Metals has approved it. And the attorney in Atlanta has approved it. It just needs final approval from the home office.”
Walton said SOPA expects that final approval to come any day.
“We’ll be getting together to finalize the contract, and Infra-Metals will start moving forward on the construction of the plant, the factory itself, before the end of the year,” Walton said.
Walton said the investment in the plant will be in the $15 million bracket, and will produce 100 jobs.
“Good paying jobs. A job in which people can get a mortgage, build a house, support a middle-class family, send their kids to college. Good paying jobs,” Walton said.
Walton said the sales agreement is in three parts.
“They’re a national corporation. And just like all national corporations, they will not buy property that has been contaminated unless there is clearance on the property from EPA (Environmental Protection Agency),” Walton said. “So we have a Covenant Not to Sue from EPA on the parcel of property where they are going to build the plant itself. That’s all ready to go. It has been cleaned up. And the Covenant Not to Sue is on the property, so they will take title to it which represents about a third of the property.”
Walton said Boone Coleman Construction is presently working on the former diesel repair shop property, which will be the company’s storage yard. Walton said he was able to obtain a grant to do the final mediation and site preparation work. Walton said Coleman has nearly completed tearing down the buildings.
“They (Infra-Metals) will take full title to that acreage where they are going to build the plant, and pay us the money for it,” Walton said. “Then, on the diesel repair shop, they’ll enter into a lease-purchase on that acreage until we get the Covenant Not to Sue, and then they will take full title to that.”
Walton said the third property involved is the dock on the riverbank.
“EPA has said to them — no problems over there, but we can’t issue a Covenant Not to Sue on that property — although there is no contamination,’” Walton said. “‘But every time it floods we don’t know what’s going to be the positive there. So we can’t give you a Covenant Not to Sue on that property.’ So we’re going to enter into a permanent long term lease on the dock property.”
“We have done everything locally here and they’ve done everything in Atlanta and Connecticut. All we need is that final check off from the legal department out in Los Angeles. It doesn’t have to go through any board for approval. All of that has already been done, by their board of directors of Reliance,” Walton said. “It has been a struggle figuring all of this out.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at (740) 353-3101 Ext. 232 or email@example.com