A property developer that purchased the former Ormet Corp. aluminum smelting plant straddling Ohio and West Virginia for conversion into a large-scale port and central service terminal for the oil and natural gas industry is now marketing the site to manufacturers and power plant developers.
Ormet shuttered the plant in October 2013 after facing low aluminum prices and climbing electricity rates. The company later filed for bankruptcy and sold the property to Wisconsin-based Niagara Worldwide LLC, which bid $25 million for it. Niagara, which specializes in redevelopment and facility operations, said at the time that it bought the property to develop a service terminal in close proximity to Marcellus and Utica shale operations.
The abundant and low-priced natural gas in the region, combined with the site's strategic location and existing industrial infrastructure, make it better suited for a manufacturing facility or a power plant, Niagara said. Niagara President Eric Spirtas said in a statement that low commodity prices have created interest among large manufacturing companies.
The company said in 2014 after it bought the property that oilfield services companies had scheduled storage at the site (see Shale Daily, Nov. 3, 2014). Demolition was also completed to make room for services supporting sand, limestone, chemical and water handling. Niagara hired a port manager and operates what it now calls Center Port Terminal.
It's unclear, however, if the company would continue to offer those services at the site or if low oil and gas prices prompted it to market the property for sale or lease. Company officials could not be reached to comment.
Niagara said that "five infrastructure ready locations” on the property have been earmarked that would be ideal for power plant development.
Located primarily in Monroe County, OH, at the center of Utica Shale development and near Marcellus operations in West Virginia, the site sits along the Ohio River. It has 52 dock slips for barges, railway and highway access. Material handling equipment and water treatment is available there as well.
In the coming months, Niagara said it would review current proposals for "manufacturing and power plant installation" and is accepting others as well.