LYONS FALLS — Interest is building in the 46-acre property that formerly held a biomass facility in the town of Lyonsdale as the current owner prepares to put out a request for proposals — and bids.
After a number of extensions, Latham-based ReEnergy signed the property over to the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency in February, having completed the required demolition and cleanup to an environmentally acceptable level.
“Without even really marketing it, we’ve had some private interest in the property. There’s a couple of scenarios we’re currently working on and when we put out the Request For Proposals, I think we’ll have a clearer vision about what that property could be,” said IDA Executive Director Brittany Davis.
The majority of the 3823 Marmon Road property is flat and “useable” with some forested areas, although there is a steep hill to the road, she said.
It features a utility substation, an office building, a mechanical building, an 11,000 square foot pole barn, and the truck lift and conveyor belt leftover from the previous owner.
“So far nobody who is interested in the actual property is interested in the substation, so that definitely paves the way for a potential large scale solar project to tap into that substation and not have a conflict with what we’re trying to do to get the property back on the tax role,” said Director of Finance and Incentives Cheyenne Steria in the IDA’s June board meeting. “It would be a huge win.”
The IDA is currently investigating the substation’s condition, whether or not it still works, is sufficient for the needs of a solar farm or requires upgrades.
“There’s still a lot of research to be done into the nuances of the property. We consistently get questions from interested parties and we realize, ‘Oh, yes, we need to look into that.’” Mrs. Davis said.
At the end of last year, two solar companies and a company that uses “pyrolysis,” a process that uses high temperatures to turn wood into other products, had shown interest in the premises, but now small-scale manufacturers and other industrial users are also considering its possibilities.
The IDA has been brainstorming about the best way to maximize the holding’s usefulness for the community and taxpayers.
“As economic developers we need to really be focused on business expansion and job creation, getting the property back on the tax roles and finding someone who would invest in that property. That’s our main priority, to find a private business that’s looking to locate there and expand their business,” Mrs. Davis said.
While the property has been dedicated to industrial use to this point, Mrs. Davis said it has considerable potential for other options as well.
“It’s a unique property and quite frankly, it could make a beautiful hidden resort even. It’s so secluded, quiet. It’s wide open. You’re up on a hill,” she said. “I would love to see job creation for southern Lewis County. What a great story for that property.”
ReEnergy’s 22-megawatt biomass-to-electricity energy facility had used material from logging and sawmill operations to produce an average of 162,000 MWh of electricity per year. The plant closed in 2017 because it no longer had a contract to sell renewable energy certificates to the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority.
The company has owned the property since March 2011, when it acquired it from Central Hudson Enterprises Corp., Poughkeepsie.