IEDC Announces Purchase Agreement for Itasca Eco Industrial Park

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

On behalf of our board of directors and our many stakeholders from throughout the region, Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is pleased to announce the successful execution of a purchase agreement with J.M. Longyear, L.L.C., regarding the sale of 121.5 acres of land and all existing buildings at the Itasca Eco Industrial Park in Grand Rapids.

"We are thrilled with this most recent outcome of our negotiations with J.M. Longyear, as the Company works to invest in Itasca County and create much needed jobs in our region," stated Mark Zimmerman, IEDC President & CEO. "While our thanks go out to the staff and management at Longyear for helping to produce an agreement which satisfies the needs of both parties, we extend our deepest gratitude to the community and business leaders of Itasca County for their ongoing support as we work to redevelop this vital community asset."

Based in Marquette, Michigan, J.M. Longyear operates a number of upstream and downstream natural resourcebased businesses in Michigan, Minnesota and Canada, including owning and managing over 165,000 acres of timberlands, mineral rights on over 160,000 acres, and downstream forest product and mineral processing businesses.

"We look forward to working with IEDC, APEX and our many economic development partners from throughout the state, as we strive to develop this ideal property into a sustainable industrial project to create value-added opportunities," stated Steve Hicks, President & CEO of J.M. Longyear. "We are grateful to the IEDC team for its outstanding efforts in guiding and supporting the process to ensure a mutually beneficial transaction." The purchase agreement executed this month serves to formalize J.M. Longyear's commitment to taking ownership of the anchor property at the Itasca Eco Industrial Park by the end of 2014.

"This is a big step, but it is still just one more step on what we've always known would be a long journey," stated Zimmerman. "If past success is any indication, I am confident we will continue to hit our benchmarks and achieve a successful closing, but there is no doubt we will rely on the community's continued support to make that possible." The Itasca Eco Industrial Park is a 223-acre integrated development campus owned primarily by IEDC, located at the former Ainsworth board plant on the border of Grand Rapids and Cohasset. The site once employed as many as 190 fulltime workers and produced over 390 million square feet of oriented strand board (OSB) each year, before Ainsworth suspended operations in 2006 and permanently shuttered the facility in 2008.

With generous support from the local community, IEDC stepped in and purchased the property in late 2009, after it became clear the facility would never again be used to produce OSB. With an eye towards next generation wood products, IEDC has worked since 2009 to shepherd this site back into productive use for the hard working citizens of Itasca County. This latest development comes on the heels of a recent announcement by Cutsfoth Products, which plans to build a 9,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility on a parcel at the Park owned by the City of Grand Rapids. Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit formed in 1981, with a mission of helping create quality jobs. Support for IEDC comes from the Blandin Foundation, Itasca County and several local units of government, as well as from numerous private individuals and businesses from across Itasca County.

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