Recycled Tissue Mill Proposed for Central New York

Jan. 7, 2010 - A startup company is seeking state grants to help it build a $125 million recycled tissue mill in Onondaga County, New York, that would employ 82 people.

According to a story by Rick Moriarty in The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), Empire Tissue Co., a privately owned and operated producer of paper products based in Rhinebeck, is eyeing a 67-acre site at 303 Belle Isle Road for the 168,000-square-foot plant.

“This facility will play a vital role both in the re-development of a Brownfield site in the village of Solvay, while fostering important economic development with the creation of 82 permanent manufacturing jobs,” said Jim Austin, founder and president of Empire Tissue Co.

The planned $125 million facility would produce recycled tissue, towel, and napkin parent rolls for the Away-From-Home Industrial tissue market.

The proposed mill's production capacity is expected to be 70,000 metric tons per year, roughly equivalent to 1% of the U.S. market.

The land, part of the old Allied Chemical waste bed operations, would be bought from Honeywell International Inc., Moriarty said. It is classified as a “brownfield” because of pollution in the soil, according to Onondaga County officials. Honeywell, which merged with Allied in 1999, would pay for cleaning up the property as part of the sale agreement, officials are quoted as saying.

Empire Tissue is applying to the state for grants under the Upstate Regional Blueprint Fund to help build the plant. The $120 million state fund is reserved for downtown redevelopment, infrastructure upgrades at development sites, and new investments in buildings and equipment, according to Moriarty's story.

The Onondaga County Legislature on Dec. 17 voted in favor of a resolution in support of the company's application, Moriarty informed PaperAge in an email.

County Legislator (14th District ) Casey Jordan said the company requested the resolution because a showing of community support would increase the company's chances of getting a state grant.

Moriarty, however, explained that the county's approval of the resolution was not an official approval of permits or funding, but simply a show of support for the project.

The engineering firm O'Brien & Gere said that it has entered into an agreement with Empire to support the siting, financing, engineering, and construction of the proposed facility.

According to the engineering firm, initial site remediation and project permitting approvals are scheduled to be complete by June 2010, while financial closing is expected in the 3rd quarter of 2010 followed by a construction time of 18-24 months.

Operational start-up is planned for mid-2012, with full capacity reached by the end of that year, O'Brien and Gere added.

SOURCE: The Post-Standard, O'Brien & Gere

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