$15M loan good news for Century site’s buyer

By Evan Bevins

Special to the Times

Applied Partners Inc. received preliminary approval this week for a $15 million loan from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority to purchase the former Century Aluminum property in Jackson County.

The authority’s board of directors on Thursday approved the loan, for two years at 4 percent interest, pending the New Jersey-based redevelopment company’s acceptance of its terms.

Authority executive director David Warner said he anticipates the final approval will be voted on at the Jan. 19 board meeting.

“(The loan) will be secured by the real estate that’s part of the sale,” Warner said Friday.

Applied Partners plans to purchase Century Aluminum of West Virginia’s assets, including the aluminum smelter that was taken offline in 2009 and permanently closed in 2015, for $15 million and other considerations. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

The loan is another example of how welcoming and helpful state and local officials have been, said Mark Cenit, president of Applied Partners.

“It’s a great rate that helps us move quickly with the redevelopment and remediation of the property,” he said.

Applied Partners plans to demolish the Century plant and perform environmental remediation on the property to prepare it for future uses. While that process is expected to take about 18 months, Cenit said the purchase covers approximately 1,800 acres of property, some of which will be ready for development sooner.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people moving into the property before we’re finished with the remediation,” Cenit said.

The company was already in talks with entities about the property, but since the purchase agreement became public this week, interest has increased, he said.