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  • Allen Turner

Sale of GP property to R.J. Corman finalized

A deed transferring ownership of the former Georgia Pacific industrial property between Whiteville and Chadbourn from Columbus County to the R.J. Corman Railroad Group was recorded Tuesday.

The sales price was $2,133,320.62. The county paid $2 million to purchase the land from Georgia Pacific several months ago to keep the 136.42-acre site from being scrapped by G-P.

Although paperwork finalizing the sale was dated Monday, it didn’t become official until the deed transferring the property was recorded in the Register of Deeds office at 2:07 p.m. Tuesday.

The deal with Corman had been under discussion and negotiations for several months and is significant because Corman is expected to actively market the property for industrial development, possibly to Project Black, a long-awaited biofuels company.

Securing partners at the site is important for Corman’s long-range plans for the rail line here.

The sale of the property to Corman was agreed to in principle by commissioners several months ago but possibly was delayed by concerns about asbestos on the site. Those concerns were addressed and the parties reportedly came to a final agreement early this month.

R.J. Corman is expected to devote the site to helping Project Black, a yet-to-be-identified biofuels processor, start operations, something that is expected to create about 200 new jobs. Project Black is expected to invest about $50 million here.

In addition, R.J. Corman has offered to donate up to 20 acres of the site to be devoted to a fire and rescue training facility.

County commissioners purchased the property from Georgia Pacific after the company began considering scrapping much of the metal at the site, something that would have essentially rendered it useless as a site for future development.

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