Alcoa may sell 11,000 acres at Rockdale site

Buyer is marketer of industrial property

Alcoa has signed a letter of intent as the first step in a process to sell just over 11,000 acres of Rockdale Operations to a “green” development group.

Velocita Holdings is a Florida group which acts as a middleman in developing green energy, including biofuels and other alternative sources, according to Jim Hodson, Alcoa spokesman.

Tommy Hodges, energy manager for Rockdale Operations, said Wednesday the acreage includes land under the Alcoa smelter and north along FM 1786 toward US 79.

“Although the acreage includes land under the smelter, this would not interfere with Alcoa re-opening the smelter if economic conditions improve at some point in the future,” Hodson said.

“Velocita would go out and recruit tenants for the property and, if the smelter were to re-start, Alcoa would be its first tenant,” Hodson said.

Alcoa closed its six-potline smelter in 2008. The atomizer has remained open and the proposed deal with Velocita will not affect it, Hodges said.

SPECIAL DISTRICT— If the deal with Velocita goes through, some kind of special utility district would need to be formed, Hodson said.

“It’s unclear so far exactly what kind of district this would be,” he said. “It would, of course, require the support of local governments and elected officials.”

FOUR MONTHS— Hodges cautioned that Wednesday’s announcement is only the first step toward what is far from a done deal.

“This is a letter of intent beginning what is envisioned to be a fourmonth process,” he said. “There’s a lot of ‘due diligence’ work to be done”

“Due diligence” is a business term referring to investigation and information gathering prior to signing of a contract.

“None of the land in this anticipated agreement involves reclaimed mining land, the Sandow Power Plant or the Three Oaks Mine,” Hodson said.

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2010-10-21 digital edition

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