Velocita deal still one year in future

Scope of purchase up for negotiation
Reporter Editor

The much anticipated megadeal between Alcoa and Velocita Holdings is at least one year from closing but the two parties are ready to get down to work.

Jim Hodson, Alcoa spokesman, addressed an interested crowd of about 50 persons at a meeting of the Community Advisory Panel to Alcoa’s Rockdale Operations (CAPARO) Monday at the Alcoa Lake Training Center.

“There’s a lot of interest in this project,” Hodson said with a touch of understatement.

Velocita is a “middle man” company which has said it plans a “next generation” high-tech, green-oriented research and development community on about 11,000 acres it wants to buy from Alcoa at Rockdale Operations.

Doug Hutch ison, Velocit a founder, has said up to 5,000 jobs are eventually envisioned if the project comes to pass.

‘ARE WHAT THEY ARE’— The sheer scale of Velocita’s plans, and the ambitious goals stated, have prompted a number of calls to The Reporter pointing out how small the Florida-based company is.

None of that concerns Alcoa. “They are what they are,” Hodson said Tuesday. “Whatever the size of Velocita itself, it’s the middleman in all this. They are actively out finding the companies and organizations to come here and make this vision a reality.”

“ They have tons of people working on it, in engineering, consulting, public relations, government,” he said.

“Velocita itself is not going to employ large numbers,” he said. “They would bring in the people who would bring in the jobs.”

Hutchison has said three-time Formula One racing champion Emerson Fittipaldi is a major investor in the project.

LAKE, LAND announced three weeks ago it was entering into negotiations with Velocita to sell just over 11,000 acres of land at Rockdale Operations.

Hodson said the exact land to be offered for sale, including Alcoa Lake, has not yet been decided.

“It (the lake) could be included, it could not be included,” he said. “That’s something to talk about.”

Hodson said sometime during the first quarter of 2011 the two sides should know whether they believe a land deal can be made.

“After that it would be another six or seven months before an agreement would be reached, pretty close to a year from now.”

DU E DI L IGE NCE— C u rrently, both Alcoa and Velocita are performing “due diligence” investigations prior to signing a contract.

“They need to know how this land has been used, how it stands with regard to governmental standards and regulations and much more,” he said.

Hodson again assured the CAPARO meeting the deal would be structured so Alcoa could re-open its smelter, closed since 2008, and become a tenant of Velocita if economic conditions change.

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2010-11-11 digital edition

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