April 24, 2014

Elyria
Mostly clear
38°F
test

Quarry deal moves ahead

Purchase expected in mid-December

ELYRIA – The developer working to continue the quarry project on the county`s west side will unveil its new concept for the ambitious project on Dec. 18.

California-based Industrial Realty Group is scheduled to complete its $22 million purchase of American Stone, which currently owns the land, on Dec. 14, said Tom Roulston, chairman of American Stone.

Roulston said he`s seen the initial plans for the 917 acres of land around South Amherst and while they aren`t on the scale of the $1.25 billion investment British developer Trans European Securities had planned, they are impressive.

“It`s fantastic – not only that, it`s doable,” Roulston said.

Among the casualties in Trans European`s plans is a dome over part of the quarry that Roulston said he doubted would ever have worked in the first place. The new concept will focus more heavily on residential than commercial, Roulston said, but declined to provide more details.

Rich Govitz, the project manager for IRG, said nothing has been set in stone for the future of the project and final decisions likely won`t be made by next month.

“Everything`s very conceptual,” he said.

County Commissioner Lori Kokoski said she couldn`t reveal specifics about the project plans, but she has high hopes for it.

“It looks like it`s going to have a rebirth,” she said.

County Administrator Jim Cordes said next month`s announcement will go a long way toward justifying the approximately $400,000 the county put into engineering that will allow construction of sewers in the area, a decision for which the county was criticized.

“It`s going to be good news for Lorain County and justify the investment we made on the west side of the county,” he said.

There are still details to be worked out, including the fate of a $300 million tax incremental financing plan that drew fire from officials in South Amherst and Amherst and Brownhelm townships when it was passed in late 2005 by the county.

Assistant County Administrator Ron Twining said adapting the TIF plan from Trans European to work for IRG is still incomplete.

American Stone also is continuing to fight a decision by county Auditor Mark Stewart`s office to increase the value of the quarry land from about $1.5 million in 2005 to about $6.8 million in 2006 because of anticipated improvements to the land under the project.

The company lost its efforts to lower the value of the land in a hearing before the county Board of Revision and has appealed to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.