By EVAN BEVINS
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. — The former Century Aluminum property in Jackson County now belongs to New Jersey-based Applied Partners Inc.
The redevelopment company reached an agreement in December to purchase the assets of Century Aluminum of West Virginia for $15 million and other considerations. The sale of the approximately 1,800-acre property, including the aluminum smelter in Millwood, closed last week.
Applied Partners works to reclaim assets and prepare them for future development. The company plans to demolish the aluminum smelter, which was taken offline in 2009 and closed permanently in 2015.
“My prediction is there’s going to be a lot of development at this site,” said company President Mark Cenit, noting the property is flat and provides convenient access to road, river and rail.
The company is already receiving inquiries about the site, as is the Jackson County Development Authority, though authority executive director Mark Whitley cautioned that there won’t be new developments overnight.
“These things take time,” he said. “When we talk to someone today … it could take several years for it to come to fruition.”
The first order of business for Applied Partners is remediation, the primary focus of which is removing more than 600 pots in which aluminum was made, Cenit said. They contain K088, a chemical byproduct of the smelting process.
That must be done before demolition of the main buildings at the plant begins.
“It’s going to be a little while until you actually see buildings coming down,”Cenit said.
Applied Partners plans to have a West Virginia subsidiary, Applied Plasma, operating at the site. Local companies are being engaged as subcontractors for the remediation and demolition work, Cenit said.
The company is working on a website to update the community on progress at the site, which was once a significant employer in the area.
“The (Century) site is very important in the history of the area, and the redevelopment of the site is very important to the future of the area,” Cenit said.
The purchase was funded with a $15 million loan from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, which the company expects to repay with proceeds from scrapping equipment at the plant.
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