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Maridale purchases option on Loblolly site

LAUDERDALE COUNTY — A Mississippi company has purchased an option to lease the property originally meant for the Loblolly manufacturing plant in Lauderdale County.

Wade Jones, president of East Mississippi Business Development Corporation, told The Meridian Star that it Maridale, LLC, goes through with the lease, it will retire the county’s Loblolly debt.

In 2006, Shuqualak Lumber Company announced it would be building a new processed wood product manufacturing plant, called Loblolly Industries. Loblolly never built the plant.

The county took out $10 million in bonds to make improvements to the Loblolly site, and the majority of that bond money was spent on those improvements before the county realized that Loblolly would not build the promised wood product manufacturing plant.

Loblolly cited the collapse of the housing market. Some county officials and residents said a faulty contract prevented the county from holding Loblolly to their agreement.

If another company doesn’t build on the site at G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Industrial Park, taxpayers will have to foot all of the $10 million with no additional tax revenue.

Jones said.

Maridale is considering the site for a renewable energy power plant that would use biomass as its primary fuel source. This plant would use logging waste and thinnings as fuel, Jones said.

Jones said the option is being purchased for $10,000 and will be effective for six months with an opportunity for a six-month extension for $15,000.

If Maridale exercises the option and leases the property, Jones said the lease term will be 30 years, but will expire if construction doesn’t begin within a year of the execution of the lease.

The rest of the details, such as how many jobs Maridale would provide, was not disclosed.


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