April 17, 2014

Elyria
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Developer IRG to unveil $500 million quarry plan

ELYRIA — A California developer will invest $500 million to transform the quarries on the county’s west side into a tony development, according to county officials.

Specifics about the largely residential development are being kept quiet until today, when Industrial Realty Group and county officials plan to unveil details of the project, which will be built on nearly 1,000 acres in Amherst Township and South Amherst.

The project is a scaled-down version of the $1.25 billion investment that British developer Trans European Securities had planned to spend on it, but county officials are still heralding the announcement as good news for the county.

County Administrator Jim Cordes said today’s announcement will be another boon for the county’s economic health. Earlier this year, the county also lured a call center to Amherst that will employ more than 800 people.

“We’ve had a good year,” he said.

Part of the quarry project will include a $26 million sewer that will run to the wastewater treatment plant on the west side of Lorain and open up the area to more development.

The sewer eventually will be paid for by money generated by a tax-incremental financing plan put in place in late 2005 when Trans European was still in talks to purchase the land from American Stone.

Assistant County Administrator Ron Twining said the sewer will run on private property to Whittlesey Road before running along Baumhart Road to south of the Ohio Turnpike and then heading east along state Route 113 and into the development.

The sewer will be 36 inches for most of that distance before narrowing to 30 inches near Middle Ridge Road, more than enough, Twining said, to handle the project and other homes and businesses in the area that tap in when the sewer passes by.

“We have to anticipate further growth,” Twining said. “If you build a sewer pipe, you want to build it once.”

The sewer, which will run 30 feet deep in some places, must be approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. and the county still needs to acquire easements for the land under which to build it.

Cordes said final engineering on the sewers — on which the county already has spent more than $400,000 — also needs to be completed, but he hopes to begin digging in the spring. He said he promised IRG that the sewer would be operational within two years.

The sale of American Stone, which cut off negotiations with Trans European in March after years of missed deadlines, is expected to be completed today, said the company’s chairman, Tom Roulston.

IRG, which also is redeveloping Ford’s former Lorain Assembly Plant, is paying $22 million for American Stone, including the closed quarry that is the site of the project and the company’s stone quarrying operations in Erie County.

Roulston said only a few final pieces of paperwork need to be completed today for the deal to be finalized.

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