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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wind turbine blade plant on hold

From an article by Nathaniel Shuda in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:

Wisconsin Rapids is ready to buy back land it sold to a local company that two years ago announced plans to build a wind-turbine blade manufacturing plant on the property.

Energy Composites Corp. faces a Friday deadline to either reach an agreement with Wisconsin Rapids or sell the nearly 94 acres of land back to the city at the original purchasing price, Mayor Mary Jo Carson said.

Carson said the sale doesn't necessarily mean the project is dead, but it won't happen right now.

"Obviously, ECC doesn't want to hold us up in reference to that land, which we thank them for," she said. "We appreciate their interest in their hometown."

Carson said City Attorney Sue Schill has been working with the company's attorney to reach a buy-back agreement.

On March 31, 2009, the company announced plans to build a 350,000-square-foot plant in the Rapids East Commerce Center that would create at least 400 local jobs. Since then, those plans expanded to 535,000 square feet and more than 600 positions.

To facilitate the project, the city later sold the Wisconsin Rapids-based company 93.7 acres of land in the Rapids East Commerce Center for $500 an acre -- a 90 percent discount from the typical asking price -- plus a $1,000 option fee, for a total price of $47,850.

Under the pending agreement, the city would buy back the land at the same price for which it sold it, Carson said.

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